GLIDE — In 2014, a movement was launched to draw more visitors to the community of Glide.
For years, the town of roughly 2,000 — spread far and wide — was considered more of a pass-through as travelers were more focused on their Cascade Mountain or coastal destinations.
It was then that Glide Revitalization was born.
“We started it in 2014, Jeff (Mornarich), John Blodgett and myself,” said co-founder Alison Doty. “We wondered was it because we didn’t have enough things for people to do?
“It was more about how can we showcase our beautiful town so that people want to come and linger longer, and that’s how we got started,” she said.
Today, more than two weeks after the eruption of the Archie Creek Fire, the mission of Glide Revitalization has taken a drastic turn.
What once was intended to shine a light has turned into helping manage unspeakable darkness.
Instead of celebrating the seventh annual Sasquatch Festival — which was slated for late July — volunteers are working with displaced residents trying to help them secure important documents, including, but not limited to, proof of their own existence.
“We’re trying to help people find anything that they need to keep going in life, to prove who they are,” Doty said. “We’re just trying to help people get started. Replacing birth certificates, social security cards.”
Even death certificates, for those residents who are sustained by the benefits left by a deceased loved one.
“We have just been trying to assess what each person’s needs are and how we can help,” Doty said. “This is a whole new ball of wax.”
As is the case in close-knit communities, support began flowing in from every corner of Douglas County and, frankly, the world. The goal then became gathering all of those resources into a single location.
Glide Revitalization was already established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and quickly took the lead. To date, nearly 1,000 volunteer hours have been logged at the group’s headquarters at the old middle school gymnasium on Glide Loop Road.
“People in the community had already started giving money, started finding ways to help these people, getting firefighters fed,” Doty said. “We realized we needed a nonprofit. So we took it under our umbrella.”
Abbie Malek, who spent the better part of 36 hours helping organize the evacuation of livestock affected by the French Creek Fire, found spare time to launch the Glide Strong movement, which led to an additional influx of donations.
“We just were trying to get one place where people could bring donations, instead of running all over,” Malek said.
“A one-stop-shop, if you will,” Doty said.
That “one-stop shop” was the former middle school gymnasium. Three weeks ago, it could have hosted a basketball tournament. Wednesday, it resembled a condensed version of a thrift store, but one which offered virtually everything.
There were dedicated sections for camping supplies, clothing, dried goods, sealed drinks, toiletries, even cosmetics.
Wednesday, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived at the gym to help those displaced with financial or other relief to work through the maze of recovery.
Doty, who works for the American Red Cross and has served in both disaster relief and financial development roles, is no stranger to dealing with the impact of a natural disaster.
These past two weeks, Doty said, can’t compare.
“When the people were able to go see their homes they were kind of funneled through us, and it was gut-wrenching,” Doty said. “To see them not able to talk ... it was heart-breaking.
“When you live in a small town, you get to know people on a deeper level, and they’re amazing,” Doty said. “They’re resilient. But now, it’s where do they go from here?”