One man's plan to save flood victims' holidays

One man's plan to save flood victims' holidays »Play Video
PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. -- A Puyallup man has turned a National Guard assignment into a personal mission.

Spec. Mark Camacho is collecting gifts for the Lewis County town he served during last week's flooding. But it's not a job one man can do alone. Camacho needs help from the public to make this holiday surprise complete.

KOMO 4 News first met Camacho on a muddy road to Doty four days after the devastating storm hit Lewis County. He delivered supplies KOMO 4 viewers donated during the Problem Solvers Flood Relief Drive.

Friendships Camacho developed on that mission paved the way for this one -- a personal drive to collect Christmas gifts for every person in Doty.

"Emotionally it gets to us because you can only do so much to help these people," he said. "If I can make a difference in one person or one child's life, that's worth more than anything in the world."

With the help of Spec. Sharissa Gow, Camacho made two dozen phone calls. Then the donations began pouring in from local churches, Toys for Tots and the National Guard.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster for me," Camacho said.

Camacho has already collected enough toys for the town of Doty. But there's one more thing he needs -- a functioning car for a middle school teacher who lost everything to the flood.

"She has 3 kids, she's a single mom, 34 and my heart goes out to her because she serves the community," he said.

Ten car dealerships have rejected Camacho's plea so far, but he's still hoping someone will come through.

Camacho and Gow will deliver the gifts on Sunday. He doesn't want to make the drive south with an incomplete Christmas list.

Camacho says he isn't looking for a new car, but a reliable one. If you can help, please e-mail KOMO 4 News at ProblemSolvers@komo4news.com.