Students to tidy up fire station to say thanks for Oso response

EVERETT — A group of Everett Community College students plan to travel to Rockport on Sunday to spruce up the local fire station.

Rockport is the first town on Highway 20 north of Darrington, in southeast Skagit County. The town’s volunteer firefighters were among the first to respond to the Oso mudslide, including EvCC student Riley Gaggero’s father, Ben Gaggero.

She and fellow students Tamara Cowin, Andress Gonzales and Jake Smiley are taking a small-group communication class. Each group in the class was asked to identify a community need and find a way to help.

Riley Gaggero was with her father that first day at the slide.

The students on the team all were struck by the devastation, whether they saw it first-hand or in pictures, Gonzales said.

“We all felt like it was a worthy cause,” he said.

They decided to focus their project on the slide. Gaggero’s connection to Rockport helped it come together.

The team created a video, a fundraising page and a Facebook page, “Oso Memorial at Rockport.”

Within a couple of weeks, they raised more than $200.

The money will go for supplies for the work party on Sunday and for a wooden memorial sign for mudslide victims.

Another EvCC student, Will Stoller, is an artist donating his time to make the sign.

On Sunday at the fire station, the group plans to mow the lawn and do some weeding, planting and painting.

They also plan to do some stenciling on the garage bay doors to mark where each fire rig is parked.

They wanted to keep it low-key, just like Rockport, and to express their appreciation, Riley Gaggero said.

“The main purpose of this is just to give them a little salute and say that what you did is recognized,” she said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;

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