Mary Beth Hughes forwarded me this Father's Day tribute from a Ferndale student. June 17 was my first Father's Day without my dad and I'm happy to share the poem by Emma James, the daughter of Rob and Kim James. Emma is in the fourth grade at Cascadia Elementary.
My dad's brain is like the refinery, working fine and keeps going 'til the end of time. His muscles are round, tan mountains; each one is unique. His voice is like the gravel in our driveway but can be as smooth as honey. His eyes are a grayish blue, like the color of the clouds during a storm. His legs are like a garden, vines of veins and muscles of tiny squash and zucchini. His mouth keeps on going, spitting out words like a machine.
His stories never get old because he always has a new one to tell me. His hair is black, like the color of my guinea pig, Teddy. My dad's hair has specks of silver here and there, like Teddy - only Teddy has specks of gold. His arms are as big as his heart, holding everyone on them.
His personality is like a lion, especially when we children don't do as we are told. But he can be gentle as a lamb, especially when he tucks us into bed. His heart is like the ocean, hiding some things from his family and friends, but is open for all of us who want to swim. His heart is open for his family, friends, God and Jesus, and even our pets. That is how great my dad is.
AEROSPACE SCHOLARS HONORED
Bellingham's Heritage Flight Museum was the location May 19 as Washington Aerospace Scholars honored students of the distance-learning program. NASA helped develop the program that covers the history and future of space exploration.
Students at the event had the opportunity to meet George "Pinky" Nelson, a retired NASA astronaut and director of Western Washington University's Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Program; Laurie Haag, the museum's vice president and chief operations officer; Melissa Edwards, director of Washington Aerospace Scholars; Kate Simmons, director of the museum's programs and administration; and Jeff Geer, president of Bravo 369 Flight Foundation.
'PASS THE HAT' PROVIDES FAMILY ASSISTANCE
Pass The Hat, a Whatcom County philanthropic organization with a unique fundraising method, recently provided assistance to its first several families and individuals, according to a press release.
More than 900 contributors have given $2 each month through a credit or debit card since the group began this year. The organization doesn't accept donations larger than $2 a month.
"We don't rely on fundraisers, auctions or large donations," said Executive Director Galen Emanuele. "We rely on many people to just give a little, which makes it possible for every person to make an impact. You don't have to be rich, that's the beauty of it; it's philanthropy for the rest of us."
Pass The Hat doesn't accept applications from people in need. The organization relies on partners such as the local American Red Cross chapter, community support officers, police departments and others to bring worthy cases to its attention. A 12-person appropriations committee makes decisions on funding.
"We help local families by providing financial relief from tragic events," Galen said. "These families are already facing heartbreaking situations. The added burden of hospital bills, ambulance bills, funeral expenses, and more, is too much to bear."
Galen, the press release continues, was inspired to create Pass The Hat by his own family's tragedy. His brother was killed in a car accident in 1998.
Whatcom County recipients of assistance from Pass The Hat include:
A family from Acme whose 11-year-old son was injured in a 60-foot fall off a cliff and whose mother was injured while trying to reach the injured boy. Pass The Hat was prepared to donate $2,200 toward their medical bills, but was able to get the entire amount covered in the process of working with a hospital and advocating for the family.
A mother in Bellingham who needed counseling after her teenage son took his life.
A woman in Everson who needed physical therapy after being the victim of an assault.
A family in Bellingham weighed down by funeral expenses after a father committed suicide.
Two families, one from Blaine and one from Bellingham, who needed temporary housing after losing their homes in fires.
"To be able to step in and tell these families, 'Hey, you don't have to worry about these bills,' that's the most amazing feeling in the world," Galen said. "To have created a way for every person in the community to be part of that for only $2 a month, that feels pretty great, too."
For more information or to sign up as a contributor, go to pass-the-hat.org.
Out and About runs Mondays in The Bellingham Herald.
Reach JULIE SHIRLEY at email@example.com or call 715-2261.