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St. Charles is helping Warm Springs during water crisis

Author: Ben Salmon, 6/26/2019 11:30:00 AM


From left are Madras Family Care Clinic Manager Randall Jasa, Vice President Madras Hospital Administrator David Golda and Warm Springs Operations Manager Dan Martinez.

Our friends in Warm Springs have been dealing with a water crisis for the past month, due to loss of pressure in the distribution system following a water main break. Most residents have no access to running water and have been on a boil water notice since May 30.

Three times in the past couple of weeks, St. Charles Foundation has donated 2,000 one-gallon jugs of water to Warm Springs to help ease the burden, with caregivers from St. Charles Madras helping to make the deliveries. Health system officials are currently working with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to determine how St. Charles can provide meaningful assistance going forward.

St. Charles got involved after hearing of the problems from Shilo Tippett, a member of the Tribe who works as a clinical psychologist at St. Charles Family Care in Madras. Her initial suggestion was to provide water for the annual Pi-Ume-Sha health fair, but - thanks largely to the efforts of Carlos Salcedo, manager of community partnerships for St. Charles Foundation - that blossomed into 2,000 gallon jugs, according to Madras Family Care Clinic Operations Manager Randy Jasa.

“We learned about it on a Monday and we were able to meet that need by delivering a truckload of water by, I believe, Thursday,” Jasa said. “They told us at the time that they’d probably be through all that water by the middle of the afternoon.”

That revelation sent Jasa looking for more ways to help, and another truckload was delivered on June 17. A third was delivered on the morning of June 27.

For Jasa, responding to the crisis in Warm Springs is part of his job as a health care provider in Jefferson County, but it’s also simpler than that.

“The people of Warm Springs are our neighbors. Some of them are our patients, but all of them are our neighbors and we want to help our neighbors,” he said.

“It’s a small community and a small county, and too often we let 15 miles in between us seem like an eternity,” Jasa continued. “But they’re our friends and neighbors, and when somebody’s in trouble, everybody needs to step up and help out.”

Tippett echoed the sentiment that Madras and Warm Springs don’t “interface enough,” and said one silver lining of the water crisis is that it has brought the two communities together.

“The administrators and leaders in Warm Springs are working very hard to address the (issue) and are doing all they can to get water back to our people,” she said. “Many people are pitching in to help and that is a wonderful thing to see.”