Here on the West Slope, most of us try to live a life best expressed by the 19th-century American author, Edward Hale, when he said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”
We are immensely proud of the volunteer firefighters of the Alta Fire Protection District (alta-fire-protection-district.org) and the Placer County Dutch Flat fire station, but not everyone is able to make the sacrifices required to meet the mandated training and call response standards to be a firefighter, especially with no pay. Many others, of course, are called to serve our community in numerous other ways. The wonderful folks of Alta Fire’s Auxiliary and those of the Dutch Flat Community Center (dutchflatcc.org) come immediately to mind, but to echo Hale’s words, we can all do something ... and should. During a recent series of storms, my friends and neighbors took advantage of yet another opportunity to put those words into practice.
One of our local gathering spots, the historic Monte Vista Inn (montevistainn.com), had become threatened by imminent flooding. A series of sandbag dikes needed to be constructed or the Vista’s dining room and kitchen might be lost. A telephone call and Facebook posting later, and despite the howling wind, cold temperatures and pounding rain, the word began to spread, “Come help a neighbor.”
By the time I arrived at the local CalFire sandbag-staging site, a couple of dozen people were already there filling heavy sandbags and loading them into trucks and trailers and then headed to the Vista.
When we’d filled and loaded I don’t know how many dozens of bags, most of the rest of us, also, headed to the Vista.
When I drove, I found even more of my friends and neighbors already working to unload the remaining bags and build the needed system of dikes to re-channel the run-off, while still more worked to clear out the surrounding storm-drains of accumulated muck and debris.
In less than a few hours, a cherished local landmark was saved as those who could do something did do something.
Cost to the government (read: taxpayers): providing sand and empty rice bags.
William Hart, director, Alta Fire Protection District