Soft Spots

Community, including a girl with a bag of Beanie Babies, gathers up stuffed toy donations in memory of Dan Harada

Soft Spots

Community, including a girl with

a bag of Beanie Babies, gathers up stuffed toy donations in memory

of Dan Harada

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea

Gloria Needham, left, of TIP and Michelle Westfall of the Christmas Project.

Care to Help?

* Donations to the Harada toy collection are still being accepted at the District Office, 1011 Eugene St.

* To learn more about the Trauma Intervention Program, call Needham at 387-6814.

* Meanwhile, Hood River Christmas Project wraps up – literally – on Friday and Saturday at the Hood River Expo Center.

During November and early December, citizens and schools, business and community groups have been collecting items to brighten the holidays for some of their neighbors in Hood River County.

Toys and food will be packed up starting at 6 p.m. Friday at the Expo Center.

Drivers are needed to take baskets to senior citizens around the valley.

If you can drive, be at the Expo Center Saturday at 10 a.m., and coordinators will provide you with deliveries.


News editor

December 14, 2005

Filing cabinets turned into a toy chest at Hood River County School District offices last week.

A stuffy stampede — bears, dogs, penguins, unicorns, bats, bluebirds and many more — filled the top of the cabinet in superintendent Pat Evenson-Brady’s office.

Hood River Christmas Project and Trauma Intervention Program will share the toy trove, donated in the memory of Dan Harada, who worked as district food services coordinator for four years. Harada died Nov. 28 at age 51 after a brief battle with liver cancer.

“Dan’s impact reached far beyond the schools and this community,” Evenson-Brady said.

Harada loved stuffed toys, especially animals, so the District Office staff has been accepting toys and cash donations to purchase toys for the Hood River County Christmas Project and for the TIP volunteers.

Harada was a dedicated TIP volunteer for the Columbia Gorge Chapter as well as in Portland and Vancouver.

“He always made himself available for most any type of crisis call,” said TIP coordinator Gloria Needham. “His enthusiasm was contagious. Dan was also involved in many other types of volunteer programs. The spirit of giving seemed to run through his veins.

“I am not surprised that even in his passing he has found a way to give back to the community,” Needham said. “His physical presence will be missed but his spirit of giving will forever remain with our TIP team.”

Michelle Westfall echoed Needham’s thoughts.

“It shows how someone’s greatness can go on,” said Westfall, co-coordinator of the Hood River Christmas Project.

“These toy donations are a huge help for us,” Westfall said. She helped Evenson-Brady and May Street principal Dan Patton unwrap 30 or so Beanie Baby toys donated by fourth-grader Madison Bubb.

The gifts needed to be unwrapped for both the Project and TIP programs, so it gave the adults an enjoyable opportunity to unwrap and admire the fluffy menagerie given by Madison.

Evenson-Brady said Harada “was an amazing guy.”

“In the short time since his death, we have heard from his friends throughout our community and in several states, including Hawaii, offering condolences and helping to make sure that the district nutrition program keeps running smoothly,” she said.

Not only did he manage the administration of Food Service for the district smoothly from August 2002 until his hospitalization, he volunteered at nearly every food-related event in the county, according to Evenson-Brady.

“His heart was huge; his work ethic boundless,” she said. “As a TIP volunteer, he comforted the families of the community as they struggled with the death or injuries of loved ones.”

In a Memoriam distributed to all District employees, Evenson-Brady wrote:

“Whether it was a chili feed at May Street, a barbeque in Cascade Locks, a Habitat for Humanity house or a Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) event, Dan was there for all of us.

“He had been a volunteer firefighter and Scout leader. He accepted all kinds of assignments that had nothing to do with his job-including recording the minutes of Administrative Council. He organized all the food service work for the months of November and December so that the burden of his absence would not fall on his co-workers and so that the program would continue to run well.

“Dan did everything with a smile, a joke, enthusiasm, competence and self-effacing style. ‘Good enough’ was not in his vocabulary; he wanted everything to be the best that he could make it.

“The loss of Dan leaves a big hole in our hearts and our work; we will have to work hard to make up for his contributions.”

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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