So many gave so much to help Katrina victims
I am so proud of the Times/News' home city of Burien where volunteers turned the vacant Gottschalk's building into one of the biggest collection centers in the Puget Sound area for aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Highline School Board vice president and city council candidate Steve Denmark, who came up with the idea, calls Burien the "small city with a big heart."
Pastor Pat Foutz of the Westside Christian Fellowship and several Burien lawmakers also spearheaded the effort.
But there were also countless unsung volunteers who did so much.
Denmark talks about the Highline district teachers who streamed over to the old store after an exhausting day of teaching to help fold, sort and accept donations.
He also mentions how the teachers inspired their supposedly self-involved teenage students to help.
And after hours of volunteering, the kids would even apologize when they had to leave for the night, Denmark marvels.
The tons of donated supplies were transported to evacuees in Texas. In addition, 23 families who had relocated from the Gulf Coast area got a chance to pick up much needed supplies for free.
Of course, Gottschalk's was not the only local scene for this tremendous outpouring of caring.
Throughout Highline, so many gave so much so unselfishly.
Some like Burien/Normandy Park firefighters Brian Lamoureaux and Joe Kupferling and SeaTac firefighters Capt. John Gallup, Don Nelson, Shane Sklandany and Matt Tarabochia flew to the Gulf Coast.
It is estimated that about a quarter of us have some connection with people living in the hurricane area or with those sent to help them.
Look for a story in today's paper about Three Tree Point resident Diane Sewell and her family in Alabama.
In the future, we hope to bring you more stories of local people touched by the hurricane and its aftermath.
We also want to tell the stories of some former Gulf residents who have evacuated to the Highline area. That includes 11 students now enrolled in Highline schools.
Most who pitched in at Gottschalk's or in some way helped out elsewhere will never get their name printed in the newspaper.
But I want you to know that your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Now let's clean up some hurricane debris from last week's Times/News.
With three older brothers and a little sister, I knew what to do as a kid when I had done something wrong and was about to get caught.
"It's their fault," I would whine as I pointed an accusatory finger.
Unfortunately, I ran into the same problem as Ralph Nichols did in his Sept. 14 Times/News column blaming local officials for the federal government's glacial response to the devastation on the Gulf Coast.
Usually, my mother had seen exactly what happened.
During Hurricane Katrina and its horrible aftermath - except possibly for the vacationing President Bush and FEMA officials - the whole world was watching on television and reading the press.
(The president's aides made a tape for him to watch later.)
Now, are we to believe the Bush spinners or our own eyes?
The Bush tattletales have perfected the strategy that the best defense is a good offense.
Even though the Louisiana governor asked President Bush to send help on the Friday before the hurricane hit, it appears the locals as first responders dropped the ball, too.
But in a national emergency, only the national government has the resources to adequately respond.
There will be plenty of time for an independent investigation into the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
I suppose now is not the time for fingerpointing.
But we can't let the right-wing apologists go unanswered.
Besides - Ralph started it. Oops, childhood habits are hard to break.
Eric Mathison can be reached at email@example.com, or 206-444-4873.