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Spokane

Lessons From An Ice Storm

Sat., Nov. 30, 1996

On Tuesday, when the ice storm hit, I called my boyfriend Kelyn. I couldn’t find him anywhere. He called me Wednesday morning and before I started chewing him out, he explained. He had driven his mother, who is a nurse, to the Red Cross shelter in Airway Heights. He then stayed to help there.

Then, his mom was transferred to the Libby Center shelter because they had lots of old people there and people with medical problems. Kelyn suggested we both volunteer at Libby.

Since I was kind of grounded, and Ferris was closed down anyway because of the storm, I begged and pleaded with my mom. She didn’t really like the idea, but she finally gave in. I’m glad she said yes, because I learned so much those four days I spent helping in the shelter.

Here’s what I did. I helped put cots up. I played with the little kids. The kids were running around at one point and we put in the movie “Twister.” That calmed them down. I folded blankets. There were about 1,000 blankets at the shelter and in the morning I folded about 600 of them.

I also helped with the elders. I helped feed them dinner and I talked with them and was around when they needed me. There was this one man with Alzheimer’s and he was very confused. I kept him company so he wouldn’t be so afraid.

I’m not one who likes to watch people eating; it’s gross. But for some reason, it didn’t bother me helping the old people eat. They needed so much attention.

I took a shower before I left my house on Wednesday. It’s a good thing I did, because I didn’t have any mousse, or a comb or a brush with me. And there were no showers at the shelter so I didn’t have a chance to shower or do my hair for a few days. I didn’t mind as much as I thought I would.

After it was all over, I realized a few things. I learned that I hate ice storms. I also learned that even if you yourself are in the crisis, you should see what you can do to help others. It makes you forget your own troubles.

I also realized that young people should get out into the community and help where they can. We have a whole town filled with things that need to get done. One person can make a difference.

It was a spur of the moment decision to volunteer at the shelter, but I’m glad I did it. And it sure beat being grounded!



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