I was involved in an organization in college that held the mantra Phi Alpha which meant "brightness through obscurity." When faced with a tough situation to overcome we'd simply say Phi Alpha and tackle whatever obstacles necessary to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Another common phrase in times like these is to "find the good through the bad." Well, we've certainly seen the bad, really the worst. We witnessed loss to the extent not before imaginable, and we've lost an amazing member of our community.
From the start of this devastating event, however, stories and pictures of heroism, compassion, generosity, and hope have emerged. We had community members take to the waters in their boats to rescue stranded drivers, remove people from their homes, and shuttle supplies to areas cut off. We were able to open the doors of our schools, and with the help of many, many community members, provide blankets, mattresses, and food with no prior planning in place.
When day broke Tuesday our community was back at it in front loaders, tractors, and boats getting more and more people to higher ground, our bus drivers were shuttling people to Lynden where our neighbors welcomed us in with literally the shirts on their backs. All the while donation after donation coming in. As the waters receded, our community again stepped up to help those impacted start the cleanup process and support the grieved, and this process continues and will continue for too long.
As schools remain closed, our staff and students have turned to working in the community. They are helping those impacted by removing insulation and ducting from crawl spaces, visiting the emergency shelters to check on our families' well-being. They hit the streets yesterday and this morning to conduct needs assessments to ensure our community receives the federal relief we deserve and desperately need. We are trying to connect with each family personally to see if we can help in any way. Many will help with the continued cleanup efforts this weekend.
Words cannot express how amazing this community is and how WE did this TOGETHER for EACH OTHER. We also thank the greater Whatcom County community for their support and donations. We must remember too, in this "brightness" there is still much "obscurity." We have many challenges to overcome, and families continue to grieve. We want our schools to be the safe, routine space for our children to return to, for their well-being as well as our parents'. We also know some of you need more time before your children are ready to return. We plan to communicate our reopening tomorrow afternoon.
Moving forward there will be continuing opportunities to donate and volunteer. Continue to follow your local municipalities (City of Everson and Sumas) for information on how you can help. We will get through this together and we will be stronger for it. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or needs, we will direct you to the right place if we cannot directly support.