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‘Overwhelming enthusiasm’: Community comes together for firefighters

Our community responded with overwhelming enthusiasm last week after the Hood River News asked for items of need for our fire crews and emergency responders.

It started with a small business owner, Janice Bell at Arome. She was hosting coffee clatter and wanted to provide support to the firefighters. She passed the idea along to Suzette Gehring, her Hood River News advertising representative, who brought the information back to the News. Socks — boot socks — for the men and women fighting the fire were in high demand.

The Hood River News posted this on our social media feed and within hours we had calls. Bags and boxes arrived from residents, civic groups and Shortt Supply. Additional shipments came from StrideLine and Portland stores REI and Columbia — high quality, fire-fighting, tough socks.

Hood River News learned of additional needs, discovering fire crews were also looking for snacks, including chips, and moist wipes. We posted this request on our Facebook page and again, our community responded.

Hood River Rotary has been helping FISH deliver food and supplies to Cascade Locks. As a Rotary member, we volunteered to deliver a van full of food there.

FISH in Hood River had a forklift that was used to help load the supplies; many other helpful hands filled every nook of open space in the van. When our van arrived in Cascade Locks, there wasn’t a forklift for unloading, but within minutes, a group of men and women walking by the Cascade Locks Columbia Market saw us unloading and came to help. They were excited to see all the food and supplies for the fire evacuees and crews, and were eager to pitch in.

Disaster relief is a team effort; in addition to firefighters, there are emergency crews, police, dispatchers, Red Cross, support staff and many volunteers. Everyone has worked many long days and our community continues to be grateful for their service.

That everyone wants to help in some way is a tribute to where we live — we’re fortunate to be in such a supportive community, whose members enjoy giving back. That said, another way of doing so is to support our local businesses. They’ve all experienced a downturn in activity these past few weeks, as freeway traffic came to a halt because of the fire. Please show them you care by shopping and dining locally. We are a community of friends and neighbors, volunteers, and businesses, who need to continue to support one another.

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