Students clean North Bend man's yard

Don Olson is overwhelmed. After seeking refuge with his daughter's family to get access to electricity and heat during the power outage Dec. 14-19, he returned to his Second Street home in North Bend to find his yard cleaned up and ready for the winter. It was the surprise work of the Mount Si High School Key Club, with the help of its parent organization, Kiwanis.

"Our Key Club at Mount Si High School and the Kiwanis Club wanted to do a hands-on project," said Joe Dockery, Key Club advisor. "We thought it would be a neat idea to clean up an elderly person's yard."

Dockery and Olson - who is a member of Kiwanis and was the Key Club's previous advisor - discussed the idea several months ago for somebody else. But then Dockery forged ahead on his own and decided to surprise Olson by cleaning his yard. Olson, 75, taught at North Bend Elementary School for 30 years before he retired in 1987. He recently was diagnosed with lung cancer and had not been feeling up to doing yard work, Dockery said.

The original yard cleanup date was scheduled for Nov. 19, but the weather didn't cooperate, Dockery said. So it was postponed to Thursday, Dec. 21.

"With the windstorm, it was perfect [timing]," Dockery said. Because the storm had left debris all over Olson's yard, club members were able to do even more for him than they first planned.

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