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Darrington High School students help flood victims

From left, homeowner Luke Sherman thanked Darrington High School students Maggie Wicken, Shayla Hooper, Paden Newberry, Gavin Gladsjo, teacher Joe Eckerson and volunteer carpenter Joe Valenti for their help. -
From left, homeowner Luke Sherman thanked Darrington High School students Maggie Wicken, Shayla Hooper, Paden Newberry, Gavin Gladsjo, teacher Joe Eckerson and volunteer carpenter Joe Valenti for their help.
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DARRINGTON Darrington High School students helped a Lewis County man have a happier holiday season after flooding devastated his home.
DHS National Honor Society students Gavin Gladsjo, Shayla Hooper, Paden Newberry and Maggie Wicken cleaned the home of Luke Sherman Dec. 22, and presented him with a check for $50, which was raised by the town of Darringtons citizens during the previous week.
His house is still standing but is gutted, said Joe Eckerson, DHS NHS coordinator, who accompanied his students on the three-hour drive to Chehalis in the school van starting at 7 a.m. We hosed and swept most of the clay, silt and mud out. We were pretty much covered in muck.
In spite of the days hard rain, the students not only hosed and swept out Shermans house, but also salvaged the tools from his shed, hauled his refuse out to a garbage pile and demolished a damaged section of his shed.
Eckerson said that his students had decided they wanted to help after seeing pictures and videos of the flooding on the news, especially since their home town has suffered the effects of flooding in recent years.
Wicken, who handed the check to Sherman, echoed her peers astonishment at the extent of the damage.
I didnt imagine that it would be this bad, Wicken said. I thought that after three weeks things wouldnt look so devastated. This reminds me of Hurricane Katrina.
Newberry was one of the students who had accompanied Eckerson on a trip to New Orleans, in March of 2007, to perform flood relief work for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and he shared Wickens assessment of the situation.
Its like Katrina on a small scale, Newberry said. Theres silt mixed with mud and clay everywhere. As soon as we got out of the van, it was hard to find a place to stand without slipping or getting stuck.
The amount of work and repair to be done seems endless, said Hooper, who joined her peers in sleeping in the van on the way home.
Eckerson described Sherman as cheerful and optimistic, despite his overwhelming losses.
Ive lived here since I was 19, Sherman said. Its the only home I know.
By the end of the day, Eckerson and his students were so filthy that they had to stop at Value Village on the way home, just to obtain dry, clean clothes.

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