‘Thank You, Eagle Creek Responders’

SHERIFF Matt English talks with Wy’east students, top, at a surprise appreciation event at the  Performing Arts Center.

Submitted photo
SHERIFF Matt English talks with Wy’east students, top, at a surprise appreciation event at the Performing Arts Center.

In late 2017, Hood River County first responders received a unique expression of gratitude from Wy’east Middle School students and Parkhurst House Assisted Living.

As part of Parkhurst’s community appreciation day in September, two Wy’east teachers responded to an invitation to show thanks to the responders. Students submitted dozens of handwritten letters and cards, images and words containing emphatic appreciation.

“You saved a lot of lives,” one student wrote. “Thank you for taking time and doing good.”

The original cards were given to Wy’east Fire District, which serves the Odell area, but Hansen knew the cards needed further special attention. So Parkhurst created a hard-cover book to give to the agencies.


Close-up of the book given agencies by Parkhurst House.

“They were too beautiful to break these up, so we made the book for the first responders of Hood River County,” said Terri Hansen, Parkhurst activities director. She and her staff came up with inspiring quotes to go with the students’ words and pictures. Hansen noted that the school is at the same time conducting an ongoing “Acts of kindness” effort.

The book was organized by Richell Bisby, Parkhurst life enrichment coordinator.

Copies of were given to Hood River County Sheriff’s Department, the Hood River, Westside, Wy’East, Parkdale, and Cascade Locks fire departments, Hood River City Police Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and Wy’east teachers Sally Pritchett and Emily Kohner.

In a surprise event last month, Hood River County Sheriff personnel were invited to the school to talk with the kids about the cards and pictures, and five department members appeared with Sheriff Matt English and Chief Deputy Brian Rockett.

“None of them knew about the book. We didn’t tell them everything about why we invited them,” Hansen said. She said it led to an informative Q-and-A between the students and English and his staff.

Some of the questions the students asked:

“Is the fire out?”

“Where/are you scared?”

“How did it start?”

“How big did it get?”

“If it came over the hill to us, how would you stop it?”

“What is the difference between a police officer and sheriff?”

“What training do you need to do your job?”

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