The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our Volunteers Are Awesome!

From Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson

 Kelso, WA-“I say this every chance I get, but we have an incredibly “giving” community. Our emergency services volunteers are as good as they come.” Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson.

 Emergency Services volunteers here in Cowlitz County are some of the most giving, dedicated people anywhere. They join for a variety of reasons, but mostly, it’s the satisfaction of doing something that makes a positive difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s a search for a lost person, a diver responding to a water-related emergency, or a reserve deputy directing traffic around a crash; it’s all done on their own time, and in many cases, their own dime.

During the five days of the February 2014 snowstorm, three volunteer members of the Lower Columbia Amateur Radio Association, working through the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office-Department of Emergency Management, logged 138 volunteer hours shuttling patients and nursing staff to and from dialysis treatment facilities in their personal four-wheel-drive vehicles. Collectively, they logged 728 miles traveling through the ice and snow to get these folks to and from this life-saving necessity. That breaks down to:

1.     Five mission days

2.     27 mission hours per day (for three personnel)

3.     9 hours per person, per mission day

4.     145 miles driven in treacherous conditions per mission day

Figured even as low as Washington’s minimum wage of $9.32, this was a savings of $1,286.16 to the taxpayer, not including their personal fuel and vehicle use. Yet, these volunteers didn’t ask for reimbursement, they didn’t expect to be “recognized” in any way, they just did what had to be done. That’s what volunteer service is about.

 All across Cowlitz County there were hundreds of examples of people helping people. Common sights included shoveling snow off of a neighbor’s driveway, clearing sidewalks, people stopping their cars, getting out of their own warm, dry car in the cold and snow to help push another person’s vehicle to a safe location or hooking a tow-strap from their own car to pull someone else’s from wherever it was stuck.

“This is the heart of the volunteer here in Cowlitz County. We’re all so blessed to have them.” Sheriff Nelson said.

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