Sports

Darrington athletics receive $10K from United Way

Snohomish County United Way President and CEO Dennis Smith is joined by Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert as he presents an oversized check for $10,000 to members of the Darrington Recreation and Education Foundation on April 27. - Kirk Boxleitner
Snohomish County United Way President and CEO Dennis Smith is joined by Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert as he presents an oversized check for $10,000 to members of the Darrington Recreation and Education Foundation on April 27.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — When the student members of the Darrington Recreation and Education Foundation navigated around the Oso slide to raise funds for their programs outside the Arlington Pharmacy on Sunday, April 27, they found themselves receiving a slightly larger-than-average drop in the bucket from Dennis Smith, president and CEO of the United Way of Snohomish County.

“I’ve always loved going up to Darrington to watch their games,” said Smith, who presented the Darrington Recreation and Education Foundation with an oversized check for $10,000 from the United Way of Snohomish County’s Disaster Recovery Fund. “You’re a wonderful community, and from all over the country, people are contributing to you, through either the United Way or the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation.”

Smith touted such local funds as “collaborative and flexible,” especially in dealing with the needs currently facing the residents of Oso and Darrington, which he acknowledged range from support networks to emergency cash and gas cards.

“We want Darrington’s athletes to be able to continue doing what they’re doing,” Smith said. “It’s the same reason why we’re paying to send 50 kids from Darrington to Camp Killoqua this summer. We’re trying to create some semblance of normalcy in their lives, so that they can hopefully move forward.”

Darrington High School student athletes Trent Green and Andrew Young, both of whom play both baseball and football for the “Loggers” teams, were on hand to receive Smith’s check.

“All this attention has been very unexpected,” Green said. “A lot of good has come from a lot of bad here. Before the slide, we’d come over here to raise funds for our programs, and probably half the people here didn’t even know where Darrington was. Now, everybody knows.”

“It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever experienced, as tragic as it is,” Young said. “It’s overwhelming.”

“And for a sports program like ours, $10,000 is huge,” Green said.

Erin Feller, president of the Darrington Recreation and Education Foundation, expects this contribution will help improve students’ access to athletic and other extracurricular activities that might otherwise have fallen outside their financial reach.

“The biggest consideration is the pay-to-participate fee, which runs about $75 per kid, per sport,” Feller said. “Even for little kids, it’s still $35. If we remove that barrier, then they can stay engaged, not only in sports, but also in drama and art.”

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