Richard Walker
Snohomish County Fire Chief Travis Hots is blanketed by Tulalip children during a fundraiser on April 5 for a neighboring community devastated by a deadly landslide.

Tulalip Fundraiser Helps People Begin to Heal in Washington Landslide

Richard Walker

There was a lot of symbolism this evening.

The fire chief’s young nephew, Tulalip citizen KC Hots, opened the event with a prayer in the Lushootseed language. He thanked the Creator for the day and for the table, symbolic of the fact that each day we live, we have much to be thankful for.

Drummers and singers offered traditional songs, medicine for a hurting community. On the floor, children danced, symbolic of the fact that life is worth celebrating.

Elders offered some classic hymns, each one telling a story: that we don’t walk alone through life’s dangers, toils and snares; that this life is fleeting but is followed by a life that cannot be wiped away by landslide or other catastrophe of nature or mankind’s doing.

“Just a few more weary days, and then I'll fly away,” the women sang. “To a land where joy shall never end, I'll fly away.”

Geraldine Williams, Tulalip, conveyed in her offering of song: “The message is to be ready, because we never know. We have to have our hearts right with God.”

Norene Warbus, whose husband is Tulalip, worked for four days with her children—Kyren, 13, Taylee, 10, and Kaylyn, 6—making fancy cupcakes for the fundraiser’s concessions area. Kyren said his uncle is a U.S. Air Force reservist who helped in the search and rescue at Oso. Kyren, who manned a table selling cupcakes, said he too wanted to do something to help.

And help he did. All told, the three-hour event raised more than $3,000 for funds that have been established to assist families, for search and rescue, for local fire stations close to the landslide, and for animal shelters caring for orphaned pets. Attendees donated $700 at the door and bought $1,100 in raffle tickets, $900 in concessions, $354 in desserts, and donated food and blankets.

“I am humbled by all this help,” Fire Chief Hots said, adding that donors have delivered supplies by the carload and truckload to support rescue and recovery volunteers who have been working unceasingly at the landslide area since March 22.

The April 5 event at Tulalip was one of several fundraisers being held in the region to assist victims and families. Earlier, the Tulalip Tribes donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross of Snohomish County and $50,000 to the Cascade Valley Health Foundation to assist with the relief effort in Oso. Other Northwest Native governments have made significant contributions to the relief effort. In addition, Hots said his department’s command vehicle and an aid car were purchased with funds donated earlier by the Tulalip Tribes.

RELATED: Tribes Assist Landslide Relief Effort With Personnel, Donations and Prayers

Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Donates $275,000 to Landslide Relief


Donations can be sent to the American Red Cross, Snohomish County chapter. Visit or call 425-252-4103. 


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