25 March 2014

Focus on the Glimmer

Once again the lovely Pacific Northwest has made the national news.  We're getting pretty weary of this.

This post is not about the tragedy per se but about other things surrounding it.

Kevin was working on Saturday when I noticed on the twitter that there was a slide blocking a highway that his work uses and one of his crew lives near.  I texted him on his work phone and asked if Rhonda was at work or home.  He said she was at home and that they didn't have trucks out there today.

I kept an eye on twitter and things began to post quickly and gained urgency.  I turned on the news then called Kevin.  He was just about to phone me to let me know that it was really bad.

Kevin's work provides truck and sand when there is flooding in the area.  He's been called into work before to work when the water is high.  So, this was our thought - selfishly - was that he was going to have to go to work.

Then the news started giving footage and stats of the disaster and we felt awful.  Awful because the massive loss and because we were worried about Kevin having to work.

A frustrating thing that we experienced is that we kept wanting to listen to the news so when we went to dinner we were distracted.  The people we were with knew what had happened, that it effected Kevin's work and that one of Kevin's crew lived up there.  They seemed annoyed that we kept checking the news, like we were distracted by a football game or reality television show.  I just felt like raising my voice and saying "You realize this is bad, right?  You realize that you're eye-rolling because we want to know what's going on and if there is anything we can do."  But I didn't. Oh boy did I think it though.

This tragedy also showed where social media has become essential in an emergency.  Twitter gave real time, boots on the ground, updates.  Because of the bridge falling, I began following Washington State Department of Transportation and one of the news channels. It's amazing the amount of information a simple tweet can disperse.

The officials have actually had to ask people to stop giving, stop volunteering, just stand down.  Most of these people are residents of Darrington (because, frankly, Oso where the slide occurred, no longer exists)  The officials also requested only Darrington residents to be search volunteers because they know the terrain, the people, and have the skills.  They also requested local loggers because of the previously stated reasons.

Rhonda is on Kevin's crew. She grew up and continues to live in Darrington.  She is a damn tough woman who hunts, fishes, takes care of her own house & vehicle and depends on no one.  I think she is an awesome human being.

She told Kevin that once news reached Darrington, the locals gathered and went to the slide.  They took four-wheelers, trucks, horses, whatever it took to get there.  Immediately, without thought of their own well-being, they began crawling through the wreckage.  Because of their actions, a mom and baby were rescued.  Doesn't that just give you the chills?  Neighbors going all Red Dawn and coming, literally, out of the woods & mountains to save their neighbors and friends.

Because of these folks, it turns out that a dog was also rescued from one of the houses.  Rhonda was there and video'd the rescue.  Like I said, tough as effing nails.  It is her brother that brings the dog out.

So, awfulness continues but it feels like everyone is trying to focus on the small little glimmers of hope and humanity.

Give a shout out to whoever or whatever you believe in for this tiny little community.

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