School helps families of Hmong students

Not many elementary-school principals would spend their free time helping farmers recover from a disastrous flood, but Cascade View Elementary principal Tim Nootenboom sees it as a simple extension of his job.

"Anything that happens in a family impacts our children," Nootenboom said. "Anything we can do to support families is going to make this a better place for children to be."

It's that philosophy that lead Nootenboom to help two of his Hmong students' families recover from November's flooding after it devastated their farms.

Mee Vang, whose 10-year-old son attends Cascade View, lost her entire 5-acre flower crop to the flood, which also damaged a farm truck. "I think, right now, pretty much everything is gone," said Xe Chang, Mee Vang's husband. "We lost everything."

Dao Lee's farm was also seriously damaged. Both women have essentially been out of work for three months.

A tight-knit school, word of the families' ordeal spread through Cascade View pretty quickly. Everyone from students, staff and teachers wanted to know what they could do to help.

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