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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Guard ‘part of our Christmas Bureau family’

Security guard Rashad Salah helps Krystal Rothe with a bag of toys she received from the Christmas Bureau on Tuesday. (Colin Mulvany)
Security guard Rashad Salah helps Krystal Rothe with a bag of toys she received from the Christmas Bureau on Tuesday. (Colin Mulvany)

Now that the Christmas Bureau is closed, security guard Rashad Salah is flying to Tunisia to marry his fiancee next week. They set the wedding date late in the month so Salah could work the charity event a third year.

“I was going to go earlier but I told my boss I’d stay through the end. This is one of my favorite shows to work,” said Salah, who provides security, customer service and a calming presence through Kodiak Security Services. “You get to help people. You see it on their faces. They’re happy.”

Funded by donations, the Christmas Bureau provides books, toys and food vouchers for needy families. This season it still needs to raise $209,519 after serving 9,111 households, including 15,783 children, in nine days.

The average reported household income of recipients was $1,193 per month, an amount that doesn’t leave much to purchase presents after paying the bills.

No matter the weather, each day at the bureau Salah monitored the parking lot and long lines, greeting recipients, pointing the way to the restrooms, helping with heavy bags, and ensuring the constant flow of people stayed safe and orderly.

“We couldn’t ask for a better security guard. He’s wonderful with people. He makes people feel comfortable and safe,” said Christmas Bureau coordinator Judy Lee, describing how Salah treats all the recipients who come to the bureau with friendly and compassionate respect.

Lee said he’s also handled the rare medical crisis with professional aplomb. Last year organizers found him invaluable when a man collapsed in the line from heart problems. This year he helped recipient Rebecca Gauna when she went into preterm labor in line.

“He’s calm, cool, collected and compassionate,” said Marilee Roloff, CEO of Volunteers of America, which organizes the bureau in partnership with Catholic Charities and The Spokesman-Review.

“We’re thankful to have him back. He’s part of our Christmas Bureau family,” said Lee, adding, “On behalf of all the organizers and volunteers, we’re very excited about his upcoming wedding and wish him all the best, because he deserves it.”

New donations

Employees and retirees of Jensen Distribution Services, of Spokane, gave $6,398. “We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years,” wrote CEO Michael Jensen.

Tom and Cheri Susens, of Spokane, gave $1,000 in celebration of their grandsons. “Thanks for all you do for our community,” they wrote.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $500.

Ron and Linda Walter, of Spokane Valley, gave $500 in memory of their son, Christopher Kelly Antic.

Wilbur Yates, of Spokane, gave $425.

Peter Fairchild, of Liberty Lake, gave $400.

The Richard & Connie Stacey donor-advised fund at Inland Northwest Community Foundation, of Spokane, gave $400.

Dr. and Mrs. Richard Steury, of Liberty Lake, gave $300.

Heather and Gregory Gores, of Spokane, gave $250, as did Shirley and Burton Pendleton.

Lynn Schmidt and Alvin Schmidt, of Spokane, gave their annual grant of $250 via Schwab Charitable Fund.

Peggy and Gregory Doering, of Spokane Valley, gave $250.

Bud and Penny Gatlin, of Colbert, gave $200.

Spokane donors giving $200 include Carl and Anna Rabe, Debbie Rienbold, and Mary Kay and E. Dawes Eddy.

Robert and Marge Folsom, of Spokane, gave $200 in memory of Bob’s son, Randy, and Marge’s brother, Roger.

Ellen Krehbiel and Jeff Wasson, of Colbert, gave $150 in honor of their six children and 10 grandchildren. “Thank you to all of you for making Christmas special for so many people,” they wrote.

Joanne Haglund, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $150, as did an anonymous Spokane donor.

Susan Richardson, of Spokane, gave $150 in memory of her husband, Doug Richardson.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $125.

Rich and Marilyn Fode, of Spokane, gave $120.

An anonymous Airway Heights donor gave $100.

Jim Walden, of Coeur d’Alene, gave $100. “With gratitude for all of our own blessings we hope this small gift will ensure a joyful Christmas for others,” he wrote.

Kathleen and Tony Roche, of Liberty Lake, gave $100.

An anonymous Loon Lake donor gave $100 in memory of Stanley A. Short Jr., CPA, who died Sept. 21.

James and Marlene McBride, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $100 in memory of Doris, who believed in “caring, sharing and loving.”

Pete Sherve, of Northport, gave $100.

Spokane donors giving $100 include Al and Vicki Falkner, Helen Carr, L.K. and F.G. Browne, Michael and Sandra Povich, an anonymous donor, Sharon Grimmer, Shirley and Dermot Ryan, and Stephen and Debra Piper.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100. “A little bit more help for those who are in need during this Christmas season,” they wrote. “Thank you and God bless you all for your hard work.”

Barbara Traynor, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of her “best friend,” John Traynor Sr.

James and Lisa Northcott, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of their son, Andrew.

David Bennett, of Spokane Valley, gave $100 in memory of his mother, Madeline Bennett, “who I miss every day but especially during the holidays!” he wrote.

Gary and Linda Faire, of Spokane Valley, gave $100, as did Nancy Stone.

Barbara and Allan Park, of Veradale, gave $100. “Thank you for your ministry to help those in need and less fortunate than others,” they wrote.

Lola and Lloyd Emter, of Veradale, gave $100.

An anonymous Airway Heights donor gave $50.

Kyile, Kaitlyn and Cynthia LeBlanc, of Greenacres, gave $50.

Barbara and Rob Bly, of Newman Lake, gave $50 in loving memory of their mother, Gloria Tofte.

Spokane donors giving $50 include Jan and Bill Hale, John and Rebecca Severinghouse, an anonymous donor, and Lois and Leslie Albert.

James and Helen Skindlov, of Spokane Valley, gave $50. “Thank you for all your efforts to make Christmas brighter for so many,” they wrote.

Kerry and Joan Orcutt, of Spokane Valley, gave $50, as did Robert and Cecile LaFountain.

Maggie Muat, of Liberty Lake, gave $25, as did Jean Supinger, of Medical Lake.

Two anonymous Spokane donors gave $25, one writing, “Thanks for the Christmas Bureau for all they do for Spokane.”

Helen Foster, of Spokane, gave $25, as did Greg and Illa Jean, of Spokane Valley.

Robert Potts, of Spokane, gave $15.

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