Sandbagging for Jesus Auburn Adventist Academy Students Respond to Area Disaster

It was a soggy November night when 36 teenagers and four faculty members piled into a school bus, leaving Auburn Adventist Academy’s (AAA) campus to help a community in need.

Mount Vernon mayor Bud Norris had declared a civil emergency and requested volunteers to help build a wall of sandbags along the Skagit River.

The Auburn Academy students were among many volunteers who responded. After a two-hour bus ride, students were eager to get to work. At the local fire station, the group was given instructions before heading out for more than two hours of filling and stacking sandbags.

Zach Gately, a junior AAA student from Meadow Valley, Calif., was motivated by firsthand experience. “When we had a flood in my hometown and my dad’s office flooded, people helped to sandbag. I wanted to return the favor.”

“Even though it was hard work, the kids were singing and having a great time,” said Kelly Kraus, AAA health services director. “I was told later by someone in the fire department that our students were the hardest-working group he had ever seen.”

February 01, 2007 / Washington Conference