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Road workers save woman in distress

A woman who was blowin’ in the wind was rescued during the big storm of Feb. 4-5 by two Island County employees.

Ryan Neighbors and Hap Fakkema received recognition Monday from the Island County commissioners for their handling of the situation.

As the county describes the episode, the two Coupeville Road Shop workers had been up all night clearing downed trees and dealing with coastal flooding when they came upon an elderly lady lying face down on the ground outside Freeland Hall.

Neighbors and Fakkema hurried to help and found the woman had contusions on her face and a broken leg. They called an ambulance and took care of the woman until help arrived.

“The high winds had caused the woman to be thrown off the front porch when she attempted to open the door to enter the building,” the county’s account states.

Freeland Hall is rented out by the Holmes Harbor Activities Club. Its president, Betty Moore, said Tuesday that she had heard about the incident but she didn’t personally witness it. She didn’t know the name of the woman, only that she was opening the hall for a group from Yelm, “some sort of white lotus healing society.” The group was conducting a weekend seminar. “They made it through the weekend without lights,” she said.

Moore said the woman was trying to open the door with her arms full. “The wind was just howling,” she said. Apparently the open door was blown into the woman, knocking her to the ground. Moore estimated the fall was about two-feet from the hall’s lower door by the restroom.

The county commissioners signed a letter of commendation for Neighbors and Fakkema, saying their actions were “life-saving in nature.”

The commendation concludes, “It is with a great deal of pride and respect that we extend to you our most sincere thanks for your willing service and thoughtful action to the benefit of others. We are indeed fortunate to have you as a member of our county team.”

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