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Memorial Day

We honor the memory of those in our armed forces who have laid down their lives to preserve our freedom. To these men and women we are forever indebted.


This is a hard week for most in the Oso and Darrington communities.  The amazing outpouring of local, regional, and national prayers and financial resources was incredible and showed the generosity of the American people.  But the Oso and Darrington communities also gave future generations a gift as well.

Because of the tenacity of the Oso and Darrington communities, FEMA has changed in its approach to local volunteers and how they are integrated into search and recovery teams.

On day two or three of the disaster, family and friends were “lobbying” (I am being PC) hard to get in there to find their loved ones and to try and rescue as many as possible. These families, of course, had a very vested interest in finding their loved ones and friends, but FEMA policy “had” been to allow only “professionals” to do the searching. But the local knowledge of the area and local fortitude of these communities forced FEMA’s hand and a decision had to be made. Were FEMA and the local leadership going to try and keep out the “locals” or integrate them?

Honestly, there was no option but to integrate because, short of military intervention, those locals were going to help. And because of their tenacity, FEMA now has a blueprint to integrate other local community members into search and rescue teams where appropriate.

While this disaster is still very raw for many of us, it has left a “path” for closure and healing for the untold number of natural disasters to come—all because one community and one government agency saw a way to work together and get more accomplished than either could do alone.

Oso Strong,



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I will never forget…

How would you finish that sentence? I will never forget the first time I met my spouse? I will never forget the day my child was born, went to college or got married. I will never forget the stranger (or at least someone I didn’t know) who pushed our car out of the snow.
Some “I will never forget moments” are sad, heart-breaking, and filled with grief.  It might be the news of cancer or a heart attack. Every family has buried someone dear: a friend, a spouse, a family member, a child.  
For some, their “I will never forget” memory is when a soldier, an officer, or pastor/priest knocks on their door to say what they already knew in their heart. It is that “I will never forget” memory that we are remembering this week. America is memorializing that ultimate sacrifice for freedom that has left an unfilled void in our families, communities, and country. I have never experienced that “knock” on the door, but for those of you who have, my heart goes out to you.  
The Bible reminds us that there is no greater love than to lay your life down for another. Those who have died serving others have demonstrated this love. May we never forget and may we honor those who have never come home to their loved ones and may we show compassion to those who have had to stand in the whirlwind of that loss.
America has been, is being, and will be shaped by our collective “I will never forget” memories.