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Community support lauded

In the early hours of Feb. 4, a fire destroyed one of our warehouses, including two cold rooms, the potato packing line and shop. We also lost packing supplies and packed fruit. This building was the first vestige of Andrus & Roberts Produce built nearly 40 years ago.

The loss, however substantial, is only bricks and mortar. The gain is the unbelievable community support. First and foremost, no words are adequate to thank the staff and volunteers from the Sunnyside, Grandview and Yakima County fire departments. Within minutes, they responded and contained all the damage to only one building.

The Sunnyside Police Department, in addition to its support, handled all the related traffic issues with courtesy and professionalism. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every individual and organization.

To our friends and customers, your phone calls and offers of help meant more than you'll ever know. We were offered offices, as well as warehouses and any services we needed. We will never forget your support and we look forward to many more years of continued business successes.

Full operations resumed Feb. 9 with a full staff, and the clean-up and rebuilding process began immediately. This is only possible because of all of you.

On behalf of Andrus & Roberts Produce Co. and the Robert's families, we thank you and may God bless you.

/s/ Guy C. Roberts, Andrus & Roberts Produce Co.

Be a ‘giver’

I read with interest the story regarding the needs of the Mabton Food Bank. I found it rather sad that 150 bags of food are handed out twice a month and only two people are willing to do all the work.

I realize that there are many elderly and home bound persons who are unable to help with the distribution process. But I also know that there are many able bodied people who may be down on their luck and need this food, but who have time on their hands and could help bag the food, unload the trucks or clean and paint the building.

In order for any program or organization to continue, we need to join in and be "givers," not just "takers." I challenge those who benefit from the food bank to get up and help these loyal and dedicated volunteers...before they "bag it."

/s/ Lucy L. Dykstra, Grandview

Realtor banquet

The Lower Yakima Valley Association of Realtors would like to thank the many people and businesses that made our annual banquet such a success. Even though putting on an event such as this takes hard work and dedication, we are blessed with many supporters whose donations of time and prizes makes the event an enjoyable evening for all.

A very special thank you to First American Title Company (formerly Yakima Title & Escrow) for the decorations and the crew to set them up. It was a "Fabulous 50s" that we will not soon forget. And a special thank you to Pacific Alliance Title for providing us with the magic of Dave Ettl. His entertainment was a pleasant addition to our program.

Thanks, too, to the many donors.

/s/ Isabel Bedolla Roos, Sunnyside

VA salute

The annual VA National Salute to hospitalized veterans is traditionally held during the week of Valentine's Day. This year's salute is scheduled for Feb. 8-14. This time is chosen because the sentiments of caring and sharing match the salute's purpose of expressing honor and appreciation to our hospitalized veterans.

It is also a time when citizens are encouraged to visit hospitalized veterans to thank them for what they did for our country to preserve our nation's freedom. There are no words alone that can adequately express what their sacrifices have meant to our nation, but we can take time to express our personal thanks and appreciation.

Our staff and volunteers are privileged every day to care for our nation's veterans, and they hold a special place in our hearts. Everyone has the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of a hospitalized veteran. We encourage you to express your thanks to them by taking the time to stop by the medical center and visit our hospitalized veterans during our National Salute. Your visit will do much to lift the spirits of those who are away from their family and loved ones while hospitalized.

Another way to show your support is to get involved by volunteering your time. Our volunteers do the "hundred-and-one" jobs that are those little extras to make our veterans feel at home away from home—reading to them, assisting with recreation activities, providing transportation or simply offering friendship and a sympathetic ear. Just a smile also goes a long way to brighten someone's day. This special dimension of kindness and concern goes to the heart of VA health care.

So, I'm asking all citizens to get involved and make a difference during National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans week. For more information, contact Carol Blehm at (509) 527-3458.

/s/ Bruce Stewart, Acting Director, Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center, Walla Walla

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