Hugs go a long way in Oso | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

"If you citizens of Renton have a few spare bucks, write a check to the Red Cross and earmark it for the Oso Fund."

Hugs go long way in Oso

Yesterday, my husband and I delivered some wool socks, work gloves and warm shirts to the volunteers in Oso. It was so incredibly bad; whatever pictures you may have seen aren’t the real thing. The media calls it a mudslide, but I saw for myself that half a small mountain swallowed that sweet little town.

Surprisingly and so thankfully, there were no slimy tourists blocking the road and we easily got into an intact part of Oso (a tiny fire station) to drop off the stuff. But right next to it there was a big tent, which turned out to be a staging area for the volunteers, the ones who go out to the actual slide area again and again. Most of them are locals, most of whom lost friends or family themselves but sorely need to find the missing.

There were at least 150 people in that tent, but the biggest thing I remember was an eerie, deafening silence. They all looked exhausted, were slumped over and had a blank look on all their faces. So the best I could do was hug a bunch of them. One was a Red Cross volunteer who’s providing grief counseling to family members of the dead and missing. He needed a hug badly himself and told me so.

The death/missing toll is exponentially worse than when St. Helens blew. But I got something positive out of this: enormous pride in small-town America. Those people are this country’s spine, and I’m so very honored to have touched just a few of them yesterday.

If you citizens of Renton have a few spare bucks, write a check to the Red Cross and earmark it for the Oso Fund. Or better yet, drive that check up to Oso and spread some hugs.

Janet Raasch,

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