The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
In Our View/Town rallies to Kristen Shaulis


Everett’s kindness to strangers

For writer Jack Kerouac, Everett in the 1950s was a soulless place. Belching cars, crass waitresses. In his autobiographical novel, “Desolation Angels.” Kerouac longed for the solitary refuge of the North Cascades and work as a fire lookout for the U.S. Forest Service. Everett was a mass-society pimple, a drive-through everytown.
Kristen Shaulis, a 39-year-old registered nurse from Illinois, had her Kerouac-Everett moment in March. She was motoring through. She stayed one night at the Best Western on Pacific, shooting for Bellingham to catch the Alaska ferry. Shaulis had decided to uproot and work on an Indian reservation in Metlakatla, a small town on Annette Island southeast of Ketchikan. The promise of the American West, to begin anew.
“In my career, I was feeling like I needed to work with people who really needed my help,” she told The Herald. “Working with the reservation, I could fulfill that need.”
But Shaulis wasn't feeling the love. That night, her U-Haul truck and trailer were stolen. Her life folded and pressed and packed away. From the replaceably trivial to the irreplaceably personal: The latter included her grandmother's quilts and her own quilting supplies and sewing machine. Gone.
For Everett-ites, the crime spurred the better angels. Readers phoned The Herald and the Everett Police Department offering help. Shaulis was given clothes, money, even a pair of shoes. Within 48 hours, the U-Haul box truck, trailer and her Chrysler Town and Country minivan were recovered near Lynnwood. Everett police had disseminated video footage and surveillance stills, and residents were on the lookout.
By that time, Shaulis was on the ferry to Alaska, driven up to Bellingham by Kristi Myers, chief development officer at the American Red Cross. Shaulis had to start work as an RN at the Indian health clinic, donning scrubs donated by Everett's Providence Regional Medical Center.
The narrative comes full circle, as Everett resident Karl Myers hopped the same ferry Friday, hauling Shaulis' minivan and recovered possessions. Yes, he's volunteering. As The Herald's Dan Catchpole writes, Dwayne Lane's Chrysler of Everett fixed the van's jammed ignition system, cleaned it and put in a new battery. A-1 Auto Service Center in Everett provided an oil change. Conaway Motors replaced a headlight and water pump.
Shaulis may have misgivings about Everett, the drive-through everytown where she was robbed. But now she knows the community has a soul. And a very big heart.

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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

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