Oso Landslide Generates Acts of Compassion

A tragic landslide in Oso, Wash., claimed lives, destroyed property and gained widespread media coverage in mid-March. It also revealed hearts of compassion.

The Adventist Church, on a corporate level, provided insight and advice to officials about the potential for a disaster-goods warehouse, a service that was not ultimately needed. Individually, Adventists showed compassion through acts of service and fundraising support.

A kindergarten student at Cypress Adventist School in Lynnwood brought a homemade bank to school with $6 inside. “I made a bank for Oso,” he proudly told Lowell Dunston, Cypress principal. This young man knew a family who had lost everything — including a relative — in the Oso landslide.

“Word quickly spread through the four classrooms of our small school,” says Dunston. “Each class made a bank. Students brought dollars and change for 10 days.”

Students counted the donations and discovered they raised almost $400 for Snohomish County Search and Rescue. This search and rescue team includes Adventist member Aaron Christensen.

Fifth- and sixth-grade students at Kirkland Adventist School also wanted to help. They pulled out soapy sponges and giant smiles to host a benefit car wash. Their teacher, Cindy Miller, reports that students raised more than $700 for the Oso Chapel.

Examples of compassion go beyond generous financial contributions to tangible acts of service. Sandra Clay, Forest Park Adventist Christian School (Everett) music teacher, played hymns at three funeral services for the same family. Brandon McNally, former firefighter and Arlington Church member, collected coats, gloves, gaiters and gear for search crews by asking an outdoor clothing provider for donations.

“While the ongoing news about the disaster is diminishing, clean up and rebuilding will go on for some time in the future,” says Byron Dulan, Washington Conference Adventist Community Services disaster response leader. “We are planning to sponsor a hometown rebuilding mission trip this fall. You are welcome to volunteer or make long-term recovery donations at www.washingtonconference.org/disaster.”

May 23, 2014 / Washington Conference