Gabe and Isaac Bozeman can’t legally vote, but they are able to drive in the snow.
The brothers, who are 15 and 17 respectively, grew up in Colorado before moving to Oak Harbor in 2013. Much of their snow driving experience might have been in a golf cart, but it was enough for them to feel like they had something to offer the less prepared.
The brothers, with their tow rope and parents’ Range Rover, posted to the Whidbey Island Community page that they’re ready and willing to help those whose cars left the road during this week’s snowstorm.
They aren’t the only ones offering to help out those who weren’t feeling so confident in the winter weather conditions.
Kelsie Mac, 24, also posted to social media that she was happy to give a ride to people around the city who needed to get somewhere. She’s lived in the Pacific Northwest since she was 15 but does a lot of off-roading with her boyfriend, she said.
After seeing people walking in the cold and wet snow, she asked her boyfriend if he’d be okay with her using the Jeep to give lifts to people who needed it.
“I don’t think he realized I was serious,” Mac said.
Neither the Bozemans nor Mac ever considered charging for their services, they were just looking for a way to help out.
Mac is attending Skagit Valley College and Whatcom Community College to become a nurse. Since the snow had canceled classes, she spent Tuesday and Wednesday shuttling people around between study sessions.
She took a woman with a young child across town so the woman could check on her mother. She also drove someone almost to Coupeville before the passenger realized they’d gone the wrong way and needed to go to the North End instead.
“It wasn’t too bad though,” Mac said with a shrug.
She didn’t really mind how early people asked for rides either, because she’s up at 4:30 a.m. for work anyway. The nursing student works at the pool and as an EMT for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue.
The Bozemans were a little more discerning about when they went out to help, knowing that towing someone in the dark could be dangerous. They were also careful to not try anything outside their abilities.
Despite their youth, they do have some experience with getting vehicles out of undesirable situations. Gabe Bozeman might not technically be allowed to drive on his own yet, but he’s studying automotive technology as a full-time running start student at Skagit Valley College.
He also plans “overlanding” trips, which he describes as a combination of off-roading and camping.
“Gabe is the mastermind behind everything,” Isaac Bozeman said. “I just drive.”
In addition to his valid driver’s license, Isaac Bozeman also brings to the table his desire to help others and volunteer. The 17-year-old is a frequent volunteer with state and national parks, the Orca Network and the Skagit Search and Rescue team.
As the brothers saw many Whidbey drivers’ reactions to snow over the past couple of winters, they described the scene as “funny and frightening.” It just made sense for them to try and help out when they’re available, they said.
“We have the experience,” Gabe Bozeman said.
“We have the tools. And it’s really fun, actually.”