7/28/2014

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Community, rescuers commemorate third week of deadly slide

Community, rescuers commemorate third week of deadly slide
OSO, Wash. - People stopped what they were doing as the bagpiper played Amazing Grace.

The time was 10:37 a.m.

The same time, three weeks ago, that the massive slide destroyed so many lives.

"You think about it every day. Not just Saturday 10:37," said Marlene Wing, who grew up in Arlington and has family from Oso. "It's every single day, all day long."

She and others bowed their heads on the streets of Arlington, in stores, in restaurants and homes.

"You just kind of be quiet and think about, have that little prayer to yourself," Marlene said. "Give your friend a hug because they're still here."

Relatives and friends gathered at three funerals today, including those for 13-year-old Jovon Mangual and 2-year-old Brooke Spillers. They are from a family that lost four members in the mudslide.

While people mourned and remembered, staff members continued to offer help at the three FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers open in the communities of Arlington, Darrington and Oso.

"If they need to talk, I'm here to listen," said Michelle Olivo, a member of FEMA Corps working in Arlington to register survivors for federal assistance. She is amazed by the kindness of those who have lost so much.

"When they come in and register with us, just seeing a smile on their face and their patience is something that makes me want to keep on doing what I'm doing here," she said.

The Disaster Recovery Centers are one-stop shopping offices where anyone affected by the slide can register for benefits that include assistance with housing, replacing personal property, help for small businesses and bereavement counseling.

A FEMA representative says as of Friday night, 152 people have visited the centers, and a total of 448 people have registered for aid.
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