By Sylvia Kantor, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences
DARRINGTON, Wash. – President Elson S. Floyd viewed the site of the SR 530 mudslide for the first time on his way to Darrington last week to meet community members appreciative of Washington State University’s support after the devastating March landslide.
At a reception attended by more than 80 people, the president expressed his admiration for the spirit of collaboration among the communities impacted by the tragedy and offered continued support in the days ahead.
“We’re going to do everything that we possibly can to lend a helping hand,” he said. “As we approach the end of two years, if there is still significant work that is outstanding and ways in which we can continue to help in your recovery, we’re going to do that.”
To help the impacted communities put their lives back together, the university has provided tuition waivers, student internships and the resources of WSU Snohomish County Extension to develop community and economic plans for at least two years.
The reception featured a video made by WSU intern Tesia Lingenfelter highlighting the recovery work kick-started this summer by 12 student interns. The interns, mostly from the area, were grateful for the chance to give back to their hometowns and to discover the sense of community strengthened by the disaster.
Katie Fee worked with Darrington high school students as part of the Summer Youth Forestry Institute. She described the experience as life changing as she struggled to hold back tears.
After returning to Pullman, community outreach intern Colby Cavanaugh described a particularly memorable moment in Darrington when he learned that the last victim of the slide had finally been found.
“You could tell the community was relieved and was finally able to start moving on,” he said. “I can’t describe the feeling, but it was overwhelmingly powerful and I am honored to have been able to help.”
WSU interns will continue their support by organizing a banquet on campus in Pullman to raise funds for the impacted communities and a service learning weekend planned for late September in Darrington.
Watch the video, WSU Mudslide Recovery Effort, at http://youtu.be/yq2oeB2-yhY and a KING 5 News clip at http://www.king5.com/news/local/WSU-pledges-financial-student-support-for-Oso-slide-recovery-270430171.html
Learn more about WSU’s mudslide recovery efforts at http://mudsliderecovery.wsu.edu.