Odell thanks the dead, and the living

It is fitting that one of the largest public gatherings in Odell in years was Sunday’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial.

About 300 people, including dozens of firefighters from departments throughout Hood River County, attended the solemn ceremony hosted by the Odell Fire Department. (Please see article, page A1.)

Chief Jeff Walker and EMS Capt. Dean Kinne unveiled the shiny black V-shaped column that bears the name of the firefighters who served the department and have since died.

On the right side of the column stands one name: John Hazlett, who died while in firefighting service on Aug. 19, 2001 — the only Odell firefighter to die in the line of duty. On the left side of the memorial column are the names of 33 men who served the department and achieved honorary status or died while active members of the department.

State Fire Marshal Bob Garrison said, “This memorial will stand in lasting tribute to all those who have demonstrated their dedication and bravery in the performance of their duty, losing their lives in order that the rest of us may live in peace and safety.”

Garrison quoted President Abraham Lincoln, from the Gettysburg Address: “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have so nobly advanced. It is — for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”

Another president, John F. Kennedy, said this: “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

Garrison said, “In this memorial here in Odell we reveal our true nature — that we honor and respect those who serve each day to protect us.”

The firefighter memorial has been a quiet project for two years as department members raised the money and designed and built the memorial. Sunday’s emotional service was itself quiet, and gracefully imbued with gratitude not only for the firefighters who have passed away, but also for the men and women now in service.

Throughout the service, the blue-clad Odell volunteers stood at attention, alongside their counterparts from other fire departments. Together, they represent a dedicated force, who, in the words of Garrison, are “the first in, and the last out.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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