Showing posts with label Riddle fire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Riddle fire. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Honoring the Memory

                The school held a hat day sometime last month.  Jenna couldn't find any of her fedoras and so she took the plastic tiara that she had received during a young women's lesson earlier that week.  Meanwhile she found a fedora but ended up taking the plastic crown anyway. 

                Through the course of the day she would ask guys to try it on and take pictures.  On February 10 she posted pictures other friends on facebook.  At least nine guys proudly wore that crown.  One of them was Andrew.  She did not get one of Nick.  The last words she said to him was to ask him to put the tiara on his head.  The last words she had said to Andrew was to let him keep a pencil that he had borrowed.

                Someone had taken several facebook pictures to make a collage.  Her photo of Andrew was included in the tribute that was passed from wall to wall.

                I have been disoriented, so it's not hard for me to imagine being so out of it that I don't know where I am or how I got there.  I've also been sedated.  I have watched enough sci-fi movies to imagine what it must be like to open my eyes only for a second to have someone stick me with a needle to put me back to sleep.  I can imagine what it's like to wake up in a hospital and wonder what I am doing there. 

                I can't imagine being told that six members of my family were lost in a fire during the wee hours of the morning - while the majority of the community slept.  I don't even know if they were aware of the fire or just who called it in. The reporters didn't say how the fire was discovered.
                It hasn't even been a week since my last post, and yet it feels so much longer.  Nick's life was lost with three other children whom he treated like brother and sisters.  Andrew and his mom passed away the next day at the hospital in Portland.

                The father figure is still in critical condition.  I don't know if he will survive and continue his life on earth or if he will be called to return along with his family. I can't even imagine.  How would I react if I was left alone to survive without them?  How strong am I that I would have the courage to go on and face life with an attitude pleasant enough that others would continue to want to be there for me.   Would I blame God?  Would I blame myself?  Would I constantly be in denial and wish it was just a horrible scene from a televised movie?  My prayers is for this man to find the strength that he will need.

                Jenna says the attendance at school has been less than half.  Coffenberry changed the facepage to profile the two boys who had attended that middle school.  Now they are selling tee shirts in honor of their memory.  They will not be forgotten. See here and here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Let's All Wear Red Tomorrow

            Our local news comes from Eugene - located in Lane county which is north of Douglas.  The news stories usually start off with some criminal activity in Springfield or Eugene.  Sometimes human interest stories in Eugene.  Rarely is the focus ever on Douglas.  Except this morning.  And updates throughout the day.

            Tri City recorded population is 3,931, but Myrtle Creek says 3,439.  I would guess both cities put together fall somewhere between the two numbers as we use the same zip code.  The city of Riddle lies just south west of us.  Their recorded population was 1185.  That number has gone down by four due to a tragic fire.

            I first heard about it after Jenna returned home from school.  She reported that one of her classmates was killed in the fire, and another in critical condition at Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center in Portland  which is more than four hours away by car. I don't know how they (his mom and dad also survived) were taken. 

            I remember a helicopter landing in the parking lot of the church that I lived across from in Kearns, Utah.  It was there to life flight a victim to Primary Children's hospital in Salt Lake.  Life Flight was offered, along with a lot of convenient medical options.  The options don't seem so convenient in Oregon - at least much of it.
            There is so much devastation in our small little community.  The names of the family members had all been released to the press.  The children who lost their lives were 4-year-old Gwendolyn Howell, 7-year-old Haley Maher, 10-year-old Isaiah Young and 13-year-old Nicholas Lowe. 

            Jenna said that all the kids at her school are wearing red in Nick's memory and perhaps to show their support to Andrew who's still alive - we hope.  Our prayers are with the family.  

Thank you to all the men and women who serve as firefighters.  Thanks to all of thos who are willing to serve on the volunteer fire departments.  God bless you all.