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Community Pulls Together During Winter Weather

By Amber Ford

Community Pulls Together During Winter Weather

“Many hands make light work” is a proverb that most definitely defines Mt. Hood community members and those locals who went above and beyond for their community during the winter storms that wreaked havoc on the Mt. Hood Villages. During the month of January, the Mt. Hood Villages experienced a winter weather event that forced residents to seek aid due to loss of power, broken water lines and, for many, the lack of a heat source as state and local officials, along with Portland General Electric, worked to restore resources to the community.

Shortly after the winter storm raged through the Mt. Hood Villages and the Mt. Hood National Forest, Clackamas County, along with the Mt. Hood Lions Club and several of their members, organized a community outreach center that provided residents with phone charging stations, water and provisions. While the county did supply necessities, it was the actions and dedication from community members that pushed the community center to its overall success.

Mt. Hood Villages resident and Lion’s second vice-president Cari Gesch was just one of the many volunteers who went above and beyond for her community during the storm. Gesch’s role at the community center was to help provide information to the public and to keep them informed as to when and where the supplies would be donated. “I handled a lot of outreach from members of the community, helping answer questions about the resource center as well as requests to volunteer,” Gesch said. “There were so many amazing people there every day, all day, assisting with the effort. It made my heart happy to see such a partnership between county and government agencies, the Lions Club, private businesses and members of our community,” Gesch added.

Gesch, alongside several other community members, outstretched their dedicated arms to the community by giving their time to assist others in need. Mt. Hood Village residents James and Sarah Caswell were also a huge part of the community outreach center. Helping to deliver supplies to those who were unable to leave their homes, the Caswells did what they could to ensure residents in need were taken care of. “Sarah and I were out pretty much the whole time during the storm,” Caswell said, “pulling people out of ditches, shoveling walkways and checking on neighbors that we knew might need help.” While Sara Caswell donated her time at the resource center handing out supplies, James delivered food and water. “We closed our pizza shop (Mogul Mountain Pizza) when the freezing rain hit to volunteer at the Lions Club so we could get much needed food and water to people who couldn’t leave their homes,” Caswell said.

While Clackamas county provided water, food, firewood and recovery information, members of the Mt. Hood Villages were the true heroes during the storm, as they have been in many disasters in recent years. While the Mt. Hood Villages may be a small mountain town, the dedication and compassion community members have for their neighbors extends above and beyond the highest peak of our most beloved mountain.

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