Out & About: Helping local victims of hurricane

I recently had the opportunity to help hurricane refugee Heather Wetzel and her three children get some assistance from the Carson City School District Homeless Program.

She described Katrina and the horror she and her husband, Gary, and children had to endure before their family, friends and the U.S. Marines came to their rescue. Thank God for family and friends.

Heather and her children are staying with Tony and Dennis Morrison, who immediately sent them airline tickets to get to Nevada. Gary's brother, Larry, and his wife, Carla Wetzel, spent their own money to rent them a house and get them on their feet.

The bad news is that the family members have spent out of their pocket more than $13,000 dollars to get them here. Heather, who I cannot believe is so optimistic after being through such a terrible experience said, "I'm alive and my family is OK. Others that lived near me are not."

In helping Heather, I tried to contact FEMA and the Red Cross which, to my disappointment, do not have facilities here. Heather had to go to Reno for her appointment, without transportation.

I know her family is here and will assist her in getting to Reno and that she will survive. But if you ask me who to help, I will tell you to help out locally - we will know where the money goes. We should be there for our native Nevadan who survived such a horrible experience.

Wetzel family donations

Who: Wetzel family (Their oldest son, Ryan, 18, just finished boot camp for the U.S. Marines)

What: Any donations to help this family get back on their feet after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina.

Contact: Heather Wetzel, 342-3975. Gary went back to Mississippi to help others and try to find their personal belongings.

Donations: Bank of America, account: 540880104-004971898871

I asked Vi Bibee at our local Salvation Army how much in donations have come into her office.

Donations locally have reached $51,000, which was sent to the National Clearance Center in Sacramento for the Salvation Army to help survivors.

If you would like your donation to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina relocated to our state, write on your donation, "Please use these funds locally." There will be long-term needs to help the disaster survivors, including shelter, food, clothing and financial aid.

Total national donations to the Salvation Army are reaching $85.7 million, with $25 million from large corporation and foundation gifts. Vi assured me that all money coming into her office designated for Katrina relief nationally or locally will be used solely for the response efforts.

As of Sept. 10, the Salvation Army has provided:

• 2.1 million meals served in 15 states

• Shelter for 31,000 people in seven states

• 102 canteens and 2 mobile kitchens in 11 states

• 1,000 officers and employees assigned full-time Katrina assistance

• 60,000 inquiries seeking assistance to locate survivors; 4,700 have been found

Salvation Army donations

Where: 661 Colorado St., Carson City 89701

Contact: Vi Bibee at 887-9120

Web site: www.salvationarmy.org

On a happier thought, I'm putting this event in early because I want to help promote a great family event, the annual Pumpkin Patch, sponsored by Seeliger Elementary School.

You can't beat the old-fashioned family fun with cake walks, craft booths, great food and, of course, the patch to pick out your pumpkins, which are reasonably priced at $2, $4 and $5.

All proceeds go back into the classrooms. They are still accepting vendors so if you're interested, give them a call.

Pumpkin Patch

What: Seeliger Elementary School's Pumpkin Patch

Where: 2800 S. Saliman Road

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 15

Contact: 283-2200

n If you would like your information included, please e-mail me at kimriggs@att.net.


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