Bellingham college students help motorists stuck in snow


BELLINGHAM - When two students at Bellingham Technical College found out Sunday that their morning classes would be canceled Monday, Feb. 24, they only had one thought.

"Let's go help people."

And that's what they did. At 7 a.m. Monday, 20-year-old Slavik Pakhnyuk and 21-year-old Slavik Shportko grabbed shovels, rope, chains and straps, turned on an iPhone police scanner app, hopped in a Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck and searched for people stuck in the snow.

When they managed to tow their first vehicle, the driver asked Pakhnyuk and Shportko how much he owed them. They told him not to worry about it.

"We like assisting the community," Pakhnyuk said. "It's a lot of fun."

They didn't have the best luck finding people, Pakhnyuk said. When they went out driving, they would hear a call on the scanner that was usually on the other side of town from where they were.

When they finally found someone to help, the situation didn't go as planned.

"We hooked up the truck, and the woman was so excited, but then a state trooper told us we couldn't (help) because a tow truck was on the way," Pakhnyuk said. "We just left politely."

After that, they towed three people out of the snow and helped one person get out of their driveway, but they were just getting started. Pakhnyuk said they planned to go out again at peak commuter hours to make sure people get home safely.

Reach James Kozanitis at 360-715-2249 or

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