Many people on south Whidbey Island are aware of the tragedy that befell our family last December when our 18-year-old grandson, who was visiting friends in Thailand on a missionary trip, was involved in a traffic accident. His parents received a phone call that he was in critical condition and on life support. One can only imagine the feeling of helplessness when you’re half a world away.
Our first response was to get his mom and dad to Thailand, so we booked them on the first available flight, which was scheduled to leave at noon the next day, Jan. 1. But we had a problem – neither my son nor his wife had passports.
We immediately called Washington, D.C. and were told it would be impossible with the holidays to issue an emergency passport. So we began calling our elected officials. Unfortunately, all their offices were closed for the holidays. So we left phone messages.
By 9 a.m. on Dec. 31, only Norma Smith from Congressman Jack Metcalf’s office responded to our plea. She immediately took charge coordinating with government officials in D.C., Seattle and I don’t know who else. All I know is that by 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Norma Smith had arranged for someone to meet us at the Federal Building in Seattle at 8 a.m. the next day and issue emergency passports so my son and his wife could catch their noon flight to Thailand.
Our grandson never regained consciousness. But, thanks to Norma Smith and a number of federal employees who gave up their holiday time, our grandson’s parents were able to be with him at the end.
Needless to say, Norma Smith is a woman of compassion. She has demonstrated to our family she has the ability to bring people together and to get things done. I know she has our votes for state senator.
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