Clinton Responds to Aid Request By Love
President Bill Clinton speaks with Captain Bill Jaynes about Salvation Army relief efforts.
Story By Robert Docter –
Following a direct appeal to President Bill Clinton by the Army’s Cascade Divisional Commander, Major Richard E. Love, the President directed his Secretary of Agriculture, Daniel R. Glickman, to travel to Oregon and initiate specific action to alleviate problems Love identified.
In his letter, Love stated that the dairy industry in Nehalem, Tillamook and Mist had been severely affected by the disaster, with pasture land continuing to be under water and silt. Loss of cattle was heavy and the reduction of the calf population significant. Love advised that 35-40 tons of hay per farmer per month was essential to save the remaining stock, in that existing hay supplies had been destroyed by silt and flood water. He also called for warehouse space to house the supplies.
At the resulting meeting organized by the Army, Glickman heard the plight of farmers from three counties in Oregon. Also present along with both Majors Richard and Bettie Love and other Army disaster relief coordinators, were representatives of the Dairyman’s Association, the Farm Service Association and the Federal Emergency Management Administration. The farmers outside of the immediate area learned of the meeting through a telephone tree system put in place by the Army, the only non-governmental national disaster relief agency still on the scene.
Two important issues were discussed at the meeting. First, the Livestock Preservation Donation Program and the Emergency Feed Program were to be expanded beyond Tillamook County into six neighboring counties equally hard hit. This food is supplied by the U.S. Commodity Credit Corporation and farmers who have sustained significant losses may apply for assistance under either program.
Second, Glickman approved waivers for farmers needing environmental assistance on matters pertaining to creek erosion.
Love stated: “The outpouring of support of our nation’s citizens has been outstanding, but the needs are urgent and apparently will have more long-term impact than a typical disaster.” Envoy Phil Bogle of the North Coast Corps, who has established a strong network with the area’s farmers, was instrumental in gathering specific information for Love’s communication to the President.
Earlier, Clinton had visited Salvation Army volunteers manning an emergency service canteen in a flood ravaged area outside of Vancouver, WA. Captain Bill Jaynes, Vancouver commanding officer, spoke with the President, who expressed appreciation for all the Army was doing.
Northwest Divisional Commander, Lt. Colonel Evelyn Hunter, states: “Severe need remains and disaster relief funds have been depleted. Areas hardest hit in Idaho are Wallace, Pomeroy and the Woodland area of Washington.” She went on to praise the number of officers and volunteers who have given of themselves unstintingly during the crisis and to ask those who are able to continue to contribute to the Army’s disaster relief effort.
It Ain’t Over
The devastation is widespread.
The pain and suffering has only begun as waters recede.
The Army’s humanitarian relief effort is herculean as the northwest corner of the United States begins to crawl out from under mud, silt, dead animals, and damaged homes.
Rain is not unfamiliar to Oregon, Washington and Idaho residents. But they’ve seen nothing like this – ever before. Rivers have swollen before, downpours have erupted – expanded snowpacks have experienced quick melting – but never like this – never ever.
With losses exceeding $3 million, with lives forever changed, The Salvation Army continues to provide sustenance, supplies, and support in an ever expanding battle to reclaim land, to rebuild homes and to re-establish jobs. They shovel mud, they wipe tears, they warm hearts and bodies, they make political demands and they stick around until the job is done.