Gratefully overwhelmed

Earlier this month, our home burned. Thankfully, no one was home and none of our dogs were in the house during the fire.

Our gratitude begins with community members and firefighters who broke into the house, ensuring there were no people or animals inside. Thank you for risking yourselves.

The fire took most of our “things,” but they are just things. Our immediate goal was to ensure our 22-month-old daughter felt none of the pain from this ordeal. To ensure she has a roof over her head and a lovely Christmas. We accomplished our goal, but this would not have been possible without the help of so many people.

We are blessed to be living near amazing people who helped us care for our daughter, dogs, chickens, ducks and cats, friends who helped watch dogs while we found a rental. Family members who helped house us until we could find an owner willing to let us bring all six of our dogs.

The woman at Hood River Electric Coop who put us in touch with the owners of our rental. The owners who took a chance to help us.

Friends and co-workers at MCMC and CGCC who gave our daughter clothing and toys and books. All who gave us housewares, we have the ability to cook and live a pretty normal life because of all of you.

To the students of Horizon Christian, we don’t have the words to thank you enough. Your thoughtful Christmas presents made the first Christmas our daughter kind of understood what was occurring an amazing delight. And that monkey, oh my, she cannot get over that 6-foot-6 stuffed monkey. At times it has been her bed.

To those who gave cash, your gift has allowed us to hide this ordeal from her. She has endured nothing. She knows the house is “broken,” but we are fixing it with the help of some amazing builders.

The house burnt about three weeks ago; there have been no less than 10 times that I have cried over the generosity of members of the Gorge. You have made a little girl’s Christmas possible and we will be eternally grateful to each and every one of you.

Courtney and Rob Kovacich

Hood River

Believe in each other

I had an enlightened moment on New Year’s Day at The Heights Fuel Stop.

I got into a conversation with a guy from Trout Lake who was on the same pump, other side, filling his diesel truck. I was filling a five-gallon can with diesel.

In the course of maybe five minutes, we found out we both have two dogs who expect treats at the gas station and at the bank drive-through. We found out we both went to bed before midnight on New Year’s Eve. I found out from him that he has three diesel powered tractors and snow-blowers. I found out from him how he gets his truck to take an extra four gallons after he clears a vapor lock.

He found out from me that you can now pump your own gas in Oregon, not just diesel fuel. He found out from me that I was using the diesel to power a 200,000 BTU heater to keep the exterior of a house warm enough to paint. He told me to be careful.

We were both about the same age (late 60s). He was an open, engaging human being.

The last thing I noticed, as we wished each other a Happy New Year, was his hat, which had a large NRA logo on it.

The sad point here is, if I had noticed his hat before engaging in a conversation, I may not have even bothered. Worse, I probably would have prejudged him in a negative way. I’m not sure if he would have had a similar reaction if he had noticed my “Impeach Trump” bumper sticker.

I believe our country is not as divided as we are led to believe, and I curse the politicians who stoke division for their own selfish ends, they are a danger to our democracy.

We are all waiting for someone to step up and make us believe in each other again ... someone ... please ...

Happy New Year.

Mike Kitts

Hood River

Remember Teddy R.

When Donald Trump was elected president, sportsmen had high hopes that the president and his cabinet would commit to, in President Trump’s words, “honoring the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt.” As our 26th president, Roosevelt worked tirelessly to stop special interests from developing and privatizing our public lands and waters, conserving more than 230 million acres by establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves, five national parks and 18 national monuments.

Sportsmen have applauded the administration for some Roosevelt-like actions, such as their proposal to expand hunting and fishing on 10 national wildlife refuges, and their calling on Congress to create a permanent solution to the practice of “fire borrowing.”

Yet we will continue to hold administration officials accountable for pursuing the rollback of conservation protections on millions of acres of national monuments, scrapping collaborative habitat management plans for sage grouse and not fighting administration proposals to cut popular public access programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. These actions threaten to undermine Roosevelt’s legacy, and I join Backcountry Hunters & Anglers in urging the Trump administration to do the right thing and stand up for our public lands.

Douglas McKee

Vancouver, Wash.

Peace all year

Yesterday was the best day, most beautiful.

A dream come true, I was able to take a shuttle to play in the snow.

It’s been seven months that I wanted to go to Timberline (missed that trip), but was a glorious day!

My brother and I used cardboard to “sled” in the Los Angeles Forest by Mt. Wilson.

Happy New Year, all year, joy and peace.

Carol Oji

Hood River

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