Flood encourages generosity

They were only there for a day but their generosity will be remembered for much longer. After St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church in Snoqualmie offered its warm and dry interior as a shelter to Puget Sound Energy crews, PSE decided to give back to the community by donating $1,000 to Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank in North Bend.

"Three of them came over to the church a couple weeks ago and brought us a letter and a check for $1,000," said the Rev. Patty Baker, vicar of St. Clare. "They said, 'We so appreciate your willingness to open your doors to us that we are extending to you this gift for $1,000 for you to present to the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank.'"

The check was signed by Tania Klippert, one of the supervisors at the site, and the letter was signed by Kathryn Shields, community investment manager. Baker said the congregation was deeply moved when she read the letter in church.

"This is a neat way for us to just be sort of a middle person in this game," Baker said.

It all began when St. Clare received a call from a representative of PSE asking if they could use some of the church space at 8650 Railroad Ave. as a staging area while in the Valley, Baker said. PSE needed a base for operations to do an assessment of the number of gas meters damaged during the flood, she said.

"When gas meters go underwater, they're destroyed," Baker said.

Baker said OK, so Saturday, Nov. 11, 20-30 people from PSE, including three or four supervisors, arrived at the church and set up a base. PSE also filled up the church parking lot with trucks loaded with new gas meters for Valley residents. Most of the crew simply used the church as a base, coming in to warm up and dry off after trudging through mud and puddles to check meters and coming back for lunch.

"We were looking for a place to get shelter for everyone to come out of the cold," said Bob Stafford, supervisor of PSE Gas First Response.

"When they got an emergency call, they would come into the church and then go out," said David Dean, parishioner and bishop committee member. "They had a tremendous amount of work they had to do."

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