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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

Local effort draws cross-state support for firefighters

 

Rob Carroll and Ashley Landeros deliver everything from baked goods to socks to tables outside the Nespelem Community Center, where firefighters can grab what they need. - Scott Hunter photo

A Coulee Dam-based effort to help out firefighters on the North Star Fire is catching on like wildfire.

It started with a GoFundMe effort to raise money for a continuing effort to supply baked goods and other small items that fire- fighters might need. But it has expanded to include minor medical supplies to the growing force based at the Nespelem Community Center and to other fire-fighting centers, said Glo Carroll, who with her husband Rob started the site and organize deliveries.

A small group of dedicated bakers has been delivering about 60-100 dozen or more cookies and muffins each morning.

The volunteer bakers, "The Baking Warriors," gather the raw materials off the kitchen table at Rob and Glo Carroll's home in Coulee Dam. It's ready for them in neatly arranged "setups" of ingredients for large batches.

The bakers return in the evening with the fruits of their labor for delivery to the NCC the next morning.

Saturday night, Ashley Duclos and Ashley Landeros showed up at 8:30 p.m., with their days' labor after baking since 11 a.m. for the second day in a row. Duclos had also whipped up 45 pounds of homemade macaroni and cheese, which they had just delivered to the firefighters.

The list of bakers so far also includes their daughters, Kaylee Landeros and Kylie Duclos, along with Rita Grittner, Lacey Ward, Jana Myers, Tiffany Maldonado, Linda Wood, Clarissa Cawston, Tonya Duclos and Heather Irvine.

But the baked goods have served as an introduction. The group, funded by the GoFundMe donations, said yesterday their mission was evolving, expanding to more firefighting posts.

"Today's Mission has again changed," says the page at GoFundMe.com, a "crowd-funding" site, where anyone can ask for anything. "We are traveling to very rural fire districts that are overwhelmed. We are taking medical supplies, food, socks, bandanas, masks, etc. to these firefighters today. Supplies are coming in to us at a great pace."

As of Tuesday night, the "Baking for WA State Firefighters" page had garnered $3,528 in donations. Its web address is http://www.gofundme.com/6e2aukbp.

And even more comes in from offline donors. Willy Womer and daughter, Tauni Marchand, spent a day gathering a pickup full of items for the effort, paid for by Womer.

The effort caught the attention of "12s Helping 12s," a group of Seahawks fans, who delivered a load of supplies yesterday from Seattle.

The response from locals to the needs of firefighters has taken aback Medical Unit Leader Trainee Wayne Hare, who says he normally doesn't become emotionally invested during a wildfire, even though his own home burned in one in 2003. "Buy new stuff," has been his attitude.

"This time I actually do care," he said. "I want this forest to stop burning, and I don't want anybody's home to burn down."

Hare has needed medical supplies he couldn't get because government caches were empty, and the unit was so short-handed they had no one to send on a shopping trip.

The baking warriors stepped in. Hare said he gave Carroll a long list of hard-to-find supplies.

"I gave it to her this morning. She brought it back to me tonight!" he said. "I think it's cool that private citizens did what the government couldn't do. ...

"These are the nicest, most generous people I have ever seen," noting that locals had also brought in salmon. "I don't think I even knew people could be this generous."

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