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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Coming together

Jess Shut Up


I am still not used to being on the other side of an emergency. For years I was the one running to the fire or person in need, instead of sitting and watching. But Sunday, ironically on 9-11, I watched as firefighters, medics and police rallied to respond to two separate fires that started around the same time. It was an impressive sight as more and more arrived from around the state, coming here to help us and keep us safe from the flickering flames that crept and grew on the hills and in the valleys. They did well, and as far as I knew as of Monday morning, no structures lost, no injuries.

Things were different for me this time. I was notified by a Grand Coulee officer that we were in a level-one evacuation area. I knew what that meant too. Get packed and ready. I had never been on this side of the fire line before. I had heard about it, helped people and seen it, but never been the one packing up the important things. I also witnessed and was a part of a community within a community that was checking on each other, helping with sprinklers, notification and moral support. This is when you get to know your neighbors if you have not already. We became the calming-but-get-prepared voice on an otherwise quiet street. I saw neighbors pulling hose lines, going door to door advising their fellow citizen of the danger at hand and what we should do. We packed, helped others pack, watered down lawns and shrubs, kept a watchful eye out and prayed.

By late evening we all pretty much knew the danger to Grand Coulee had passed, but we also knew that a wind gust or change of weather could change everything. We called people to check on them, made sure our animals were rounded up and ready for a quick escape, and watched the glow from across the river. It was not over for those on the reservation; their fire was still roaring and there were still firefighters in harm’s way over there. More prayers.

It is times like these that we see what a true community is supposed to be like. We jumped to help our neighbors and friends. It is also acts like these that we do not forget. People coming to your house to help you pack up and fight fire, neighbors coming to check on you and making sure you have the current information. A phone call to check on you. A Facebook post being shared over and over again to make sure it is seen. Coming together. As a community. On a historic date in our country’s history.

We do not always believe the same things or agree with one another, but in a time of need we drop our views and help our fellow man and woman. And that, my friends, is what America is all about. That is what Coulee Country is all about and was built on. That is what the National Anthem stands for. A country through blood, sweat and tears, that rises to the occasion and honors those who fought and continue to fight for freedom. For firefighters, police and armed forces that time and time again answer the call and sometimes don’t come home. They do that for you and for me. They do that for every citizen in every town and won’t stop. That is true citizenship, and I saw that Sunday in men and women in uniform and in the neighbors here on the streets of Grand Coulee, Coulee Dam and Elmer City and the surrounding areas. Thank You.

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