Meeting Elvis by rail: A dream-come-true for a trainman’s daughter

Dorothy Phelps meets Elvis on the Mt. Hood Railroad Dinner Train in February. Hawks Ridge’s Senior Wish program helped Dorothy and her family attend the event which included a special musical performance from Elvis.

Dorothy Phelps meets Elvis on the Mt. Hood Railroad Dinner Train in February. Hawks Ridge’s Senior Wish program helped Dorothy and her family attend the event which included a special musical performance from Elvis.

“I had a blast!” said Dorothy Phelps, resident of Hawks Ridge Assisted Living Community, of her recent Senior Wish activity.

Dorothy Phelps has always loved trains. Trains are a big part of her family’s life. As a small child, Dorothy’s father worked as a repair man for the railroad in Huntington, Ore. He took many lessons and training courses and worked his way up to engineer. Her father maintained that position for the rest of his life.

When Dorothy was chosen for Hawks Ridge’s Senior Wish project for February, she knew exactly what she wanted to do: “I love trains and I have always wanted to ride the Mount Hood Railway to Parkdale and back.”

After looking at Mount Hood Railroad’s website, Cathy Carter, marketing director for Hawks Ridge Assisted Living, found the Feb. 15 Dinner Train with Elvis.

“I knew Dorothy loved Elvis and trains! Perfect!” Carter said.

Dorothy’s son and daughter-in-law, Dave and Diane Phelps, were able to join her for a “just wonderful” night. Dorothy received special treatment from both the conductor and Elvis. Hugs, kisses, a rose and a serenade of a “lovey-dovey” Elvis song were all part of Dorothy’s special Senior Wish night.

Dorothy was a high school English and drama teacher for many years before her retirement. She has been a resident at Hawks Ridge Assisted living since 2010. She enjoys her family, her grandchildren, and any educational opportunity.

Hawks Ridge created the Senior Wish Project to help residents with achieving a dream or goal.

“We try to achieve this dream in the best way we can, big or small,” Carter said. “The Hood River and surrounding communities have been very philanthropic. We appreciate any donation to help fund this happiness project.”

The Senior Wish program began in 2013. Hawks Ridge held a Country Fair on Aug. 16, with more than 50 business contributors and volunteers, the event drew nearly 500 visitors and raised more than $1,500 for the Senior Wish Project.

To learn more about how to donate, volunteer, be a part of the Country Fair 2014 or for more information on the Senior Wish Project, contact Cathy Carter at or 541-387-4087.

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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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