ANOTHER VOICE: Rock-solid support for ‘brothers’ in harm’s way

Long ago, it became part of my morning routine to look at the Department of Defense casualty list and pay my respects to the fallen. This ritual started when my son, a Marine, began a series of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even though little media attention is now given to America’s longest war, 14 soldiers and a Marine have died on the battlefield in Afghanistan this month alone, and more than 6,500 have lost their lives in both post-9/11 wars, with tens of thousands receiving life-altering injuries. It is distressing for military families to have the sacrifices they make for national defense so often forgotten. And that is why my heart was so full of gratitude when Bob Stone handed me a check for $4,300 this week to be used for veteran care.

I founded the Gorge Heroes Club in 2008 and Mr. Stone has faithfully provided funds since that time to ensure that we can take care of troops in the field or veterans who are struggling to find jobs and cope with PTSD or an injury.

I am asking that you take time out of your busy day this next week to thank Mr. Stone for being such a strong supporter of our local National Guard units and others serving from the Mid-Columbia region. You can also leave a message online at www.bobstoneauto.com.

While you are at it, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue and area law enforcement agencies should also be thanked for holding an event on May 18, which is National Armed Forces Day, to pay tribute to the troops and help us raise $1,500 for the cause. Some of these emergency responders are planning a hunting trip this fall for combat veterans, several of whom have lost limbs in combat, and that is just another example of their commitment to their “brothers” in harm’s way. They can be thanked by emailing mcfr@mcfr.org.

We need to never forget, as a nation, the high price that is being paid daily on a battlefield thousands of miles away so that we can go about our daily lives in peace and security.

n

RaeLynn Ricarte of The Dalles is founder and president of Gorge Heroes Club.

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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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