As the weeks go by after the deadly mudslide in Oso, the number of volunteers helping to clean up the muddy mess is dwindling. But there’s another team working on an invisible mess — the emotional one. They’re volunteer, emergency response chaplains. Long after the funerals are over and the debris has been disposed of, their work will continue.
Steve Schertzinger, Owen Couch, and Suzanne and Ray Thompson were some of the first volunteers to arrive after the mudslide in Oso. The chaplains will likely be some of the last to leave.
Since they retired as a nurse and a firefighter, Suzanne and Ray Thompson have bounced from disaster to disaster.
"Tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, ice storms," Ray Thompson recalled. "I've kind of lost count."