Blizzard brings out the best in the Basin

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In times of peril in a community it is often the police officers and firefighters who get the spotlight. And rightfully so Public servants who put their lives on the line for the community they serve should not only be in the spotlight, but they should be readily commended for the work they do day in and day out.

Last weekend the Columbia Basin experienced its true first blizzard of 2019 – the first in a few years, for that matter – and cops and firefighters put in their work responding to countless call ranging from vehicle collisions to helping stranded drivers. In Moses Lake officers could be seen giving it their all to push stuck drivers out of the deep snow that was dropped over the Basin on Friday and into Saturday, turning local roads into quasi-ice rinks. Firefighters got in on the action as well. Grant County Fire District No. 13 and the Ephrata Fire Department stomped out a fire in Ephrata over the weekend, while the Moses Lake firefighters were active on Facebook providing traffic updates and reminding drivers to be careful.

For all the talk about cops and firefighters going beyond what is expected of them, how often do the letter carriers and package deliverers of the world get some publicity? Let’s not leave anyone out, however. Letter carriers and package delivers aren’t the only people who deserve a little love. Where would we be without the snow plow drivers of the world? Or the newspaper carriers who drive in adverse conditions to bring the news to your doorstep each day? How about those just all-around good folks who stop what they are doing to help out stranded drivers or plow a neighbor’s driveway? The blizzard may have driven the majority of us indoors, but it also brought out the best in countless people in our community who deserve to be recognized.

If you live in Moses Lake you have probably seen Andrew Arnold at some point delivering mail out of his 1997 Ford Aerostar van. We say you have probably seen him around due to the van’s distinctive color scheme and big block lettering that says “Mystery Machine.”

On Saturday – which was one of the worst weather days this area has seen for some time – Arnold commented on the Columbia Basin Herald’s Facebook page that his Scooby Doo-inspired work van got stuck in a ditch. Asking for help to get it unstuck, Arnold declared “mail has gotta be delivered!” One person told him they wouldn’t care if no mail was delivered on Saturday “or in any kind of storm.” Another person told him they wouldn’t even go out to get the van and to “stay safe.”

In our increasingly digitized world where email, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat have become the rage for correspondence, let us not forget about that paper stuff, especially those who go the extra mile to deliver it. Chiseled into the elegant granite at the United State Postal Service’s James A. Farley Building in New York City are the words “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” The words come from ancient Greek historian Herodotus, who in “The Persian Wars” detailed the Persians’ mounted postal courier system during the wars between the Greeks and Persians.

Different time period. Different cultural setting. Different geographical setting. Same message thousands of years later. Letter carriers and package deliverers work tirelessly – and have since the days of Herodotus – to ensure that the junk mail we take one look at and toss out gets to us in the first place. When you go out to your mailbox this week and wade through mounds of snow, keep in mind the people who put those letters in that mailbox. You only have to go out to your mailbox once day. Rain, sunshine, snow, they go out to hundreds of them on a daily basis.

— Editorial board

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