OSO — It took more than 60 days — nearly 1,500 hours — to bring Steven Hadaway home.
And his family is forever grateful.
John Hadaway learned Friday that the body found the day before in the Oso debris fields was his brother.
On a rainy Saturday morning, Hadaway met with a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy in an Everett parking lot. The two had talked by phone many times before and finally met. The deputy handed him his brother’s wedding ring. John Hadaway hugged and thanked him. He then drove to Darrington to give it to his sister-in-law, Margaret Hadaway.
“It meant a ton to her,” he said.
Steven and Margaret Hadaway were married for more than 30 years.
Hadaway is the 42nd confirmed death from the March 22 mudslide that wiped out the Steelhead Haven neighborhood and buried Highway 530. That leaves one person reported missing: Kris Regelbrugge, 44. The body of her husband, John Regelbrugge III, 49, an active-duty Navy commander, previously had been found.
In school, 42 out of 43 would be a terrific grade, but in the Oso disaster, it simply isn’t good enough, John Hadaway said.
“I still don’t believe a car should go down 530 until she has been found,” said Hadaway, who spent time with his brother, Frank, as volunteers searching the rubble. “Her family needs to be whole, just like everyone else. It’s time. It’s time she comes home. She is the first priority now.”
Steven Hadaway, 53, was installing a satellite dish at a home on Steelhead Drive when the slide hit. A track of his rig’s GPS showed he arrived at the job at 8:15 a.m. The mudslide hit at 10:37 a.m.
John Hadaway found symbolism in the timing of his brother being found. As a young man, Hadaway enlisted in the Marines Corps.
“He came home on Memorial Day weekend,” he said.
Steven Hadaway and his wife were foster parents before adopting three children — a boy with special needs and two girls. Their son, Brandon, could neither walk nor talk when he died in 2000. He was 6, and in the first grade.
Steven Hadaway moved to Darrington seven years ago because he loved small towns. He’d text his brothers pictures of Whitehorse Mountain and the natural beauty that surrounds the town to try to make them jealous.
The Hadaways always figured their brother would want to be the last one found, to make sure others came out first.
Perhaps, John Hadaway likes to imagine, his brother figured it was time to be found to bring new energy to finding Regelbrugge.
“My heart still breaks,” he said. “She has a family. They need her home.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.