SANIPAC DRIVER JOSH STANLEY, 24, OF CRESWELL, IS THE ”BUN MANAGER” AT CRESWELL COURT, HELPING FEED THOSE WITHOUT POWER AFTER THE FEBRURY 2019 SNOWSTORM. ERIN TIERNEY/THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Creswell's motto of being ”The Friendly City” was reaffirmed during last week's snow storm, as evidenced by the countless stories of neighbors taking care of one another.
Creswell Mayor Richard Zettervall couldn't be more pleased. ”It was just fabulous, truly something to behold,” to see the community come to each other's rescue, he said.
With snow shovels sparse in the Willamette Valley, people with the proper equipment shoveled others' walkways and driveways on their block. With three electric companies on-and-offline at different times, many of those with power opened their doors, offering a warm space and a warm meal. Many walked around their blocks and offered hot coffee and tea. Those with four-wheel drive offered rights to and from Eugene and other neighboring communities.
Those who were stuck inside and were lucky enough to have internet, many voiced their wants, needs and offerings to the Creswell Community Connection Facebook page.
As a result of one of those posts, Creswell Court got a helping hand, which was out of power until Sunday, March 3.
For Danielle Bowers Jolly and her husband, Jason Jolly, it all started with a Facebook post on the night of Feb. 27; day three of the snow storm. They were scrolling through the connection page and saw posts of Creswellians thanking one another for their help and cheering about their power starting to come on.
The Jollys, who live in Creswell Court, were without power at the time. They talked about how they needed to do something. Danielle Bowers Jolly explained that there is an elderly population in Creswell Court, and due to the couples background as caregivers, their instincts kicked in.
”I put up the post and my phone has been going off non-stop,” she said.
The next day, Jolly said that her and her husband only had a few hours of sleep, as they were organizing all the food donations they were receiving. They picked up a crockpot of chicken and rice soup, hot chocolate, four boxes of tea and juices, spaghetti, as well as chili and cornbread.
Jolly was planning on doing a breakfast that morning and then a late lunch, early dinner in the afternoon.
”The community has been really awesome with my post and it's helped a lot of people in Creswell Court get involved as well,” Jolly said. ”At least seven others in the court have stepped up with grill or hot water and coffee. It's awesome.”
Although the couple no longer works as caregivers - Jayson and Danielle are both in school for human resources and health care administration, respectively - they have been called heroes and life savers by their community for the work they have done.
”We have had people cry with happy tears; we've been thanked a lot,” she said. ”They've been very appreciative of us. Just to see their reaction when we drop stuff off to them: You see how grateful they are.”
She said that many of them aren't used to asking for help because they're so busy helping others. She said that nobody should ever feel like they can't ask for help. ”Every rock needs a shoulder, too,” she said.
The Jollys didn't want to see anyone hurt or sick. ”We just need to come together regardless of it being a snowstorm and power outage or a heat wave,” she said. ”If you don't like your neighbor, you're going to end up liking them at one point because they're going to end up helping you at some point.”
Jolly said that this couldn't have been done without the community coming forward to help them out.
”It brings me joy and happiness to see that this community actually stands by its name,” she said. ”We're the friendly town and everyone is willing to help out. I don't think everyone really knew that that side of Creswell was out of power. So when everyone learned that, everyone stepped into acton. It's an exciting feeling.”
Sanipac's Duck Truck also visited Creswell Court on on Friday, March 1. Creswell's Aaron and Jenni Donley, and other Sanipac workers, handed out 400 hot dogs, 250 hamburgers, chips and soda; a service the Donleys said they were happy to provide to the Creswell community.
Cottage Grove also saw wonderful acts of community support, Crafty Mercantile owner Michelle Rose said.
”We've seen a lot of neighbors going out, shoveling driveways for their neighbors,” Rose said. ”I've seen people running around, taking them on errands and such, and taking oxygen tanks to others.”
South Lane County Fire & Rescue went out of their way to make sure the elderly were safe, she said, and made extra stops when they noticed someone might be having trouble.
Urban Kitchen offered free dinners and quite a few people opened up cell phone charging stations and showers in their houses. ”People said, 'no heat? No water? No meals? Come over,'” she said.
Rose said there are a few elderly people who live up Dennis Creek Road that could not get out due to downed trees, so people showed up with chainsaws to help them out.
”It just shows how wonderful this community is,” Rose said.