Tribal youth volunteers at flood shelter

By Megan Van Pelt of the CUJ
PENDLETON – Caring hearts are out to help, and high school students wanted to help just as much as anyone else.

One such student, Kaydon Higheagle, volunteered with fellow Pendleton High School students at the Pendleton Convention Center Feb. 9. 

Higheagle, a Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) tribal member, wanted to contribute somehow during the record-breaking flooding of the Umatilla River in early February.

Higheagle saw Erik Gilliand’s post on Facebook, an Oregon Army National Guard Recruiter, asking for any volunteers to lend a hand at the convention center, which was one of the designated shelters in Umatilla County. It was facilitated by the American Red Cross.

People affected by the flooding – and some pets – stayed in the shelter, which was also donation central. An outpouring of items were dropped off at the Convention Center, which then needed to be accounted for and sorted.

Higheagle moved and organized donated food, clothes, bedding, and other items for flood victims. 

“A true defining of character,” is how Gilliand described the efforts of Higheagle and the other students.