A sense of duty

As a parent, you treasure the moments when your kids do something that makes you proud. It may be an accomplishment, a personal milestone, a new job. Sometimes it’s just a simple act that makes you appreciate the kind of person your child has become.

Such was the case when we learned that our youngest child, Jordan, had volunteered to help with the ongoing recovery and cleanup efforts in Oso, Washington, where a devastating mudslide March 22 obliterated the community and killed 30 people (as of this date).

Jordan completed a four-year stint with the U.S. Army last year, but has continued to serve one weekend a month as a member of the Washington Army National Guard while going to school full-time. He and other Guard members were due to report to Oso on Thursday, April 3,  for an assignment expected to last about 2 1/2 weeks. When he returns, he’ll have to make up course work with the cooperation of his professors.

Jordan & George at Cascade Lake on Orcas Island.,

Jordan & George at Cascade Lake on Orcas Island.

When we spoke on the phone Sunday, I asked Jordan what was behind his decision to volunteer.

“They asked who wanted to go, and I said ‘sure,’ ” he told me. “Why wouldn’t I?”

I know he’ll face daunting conditions there in Oso — both physically, with the millions of tons of mud, debris and contents of shattered septic tanks, and psychologically, seeing first-hand the aftermath of shattered lives.

Made me very proud to raise a son who would run toward a challenge rather than away from it. Made me realize his values of compassion and empathy are in exactly the right place.

Photograph: Nathan Rede

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