Young@Heart: Woodland, Washington

creekWoodland, Washington is a cozy, rural town of approximately 5,000 in population. Next door to Woodland is Ridgefield, a small farming community with a main street, straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The sister towns are situated on the Columbia River which teams with salmon almost year ‘round.

On September 11, 2016 these two, little towns did something very BIG! A businessman in Ridgefield and a businessman in Woodland put their heads together and with hearts of compassion, invited 16 police officers from Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who suffered through the attacks in July, to come and fish on the river for three days (all expenses paid). The two men also reached out to the local officers in surrounding towns in Washington and Pendleton and Portland, Oregon. More than 150 police officers were able to enjoy a break from the danger they face every day and go fishing. Terry videotaped the fun.

The men were so grateful to be invited to relax and enjoy the beautiful northwest and do something they love….fish.

The two communities donated enough money to pay for the officer’s flights, house them, and feed them. Some of the best professional fishing guides in the northwest offered their boats and expertise for three days at no expense and during the height of their fishing season.

aerial skyThe Woodland man owns “The American Family Diner” in town and all the officers claimed to have gained at least 10 pounds because of the delicious breakfasts and box lunches. The last night the officers were in Woodland, “The American Family Diner” hosted a dinner at Horse Shoe Lake Park, in the center of Woodland, and more than 500 Woodlanders turned out to honor the police and show respect for the job they do to protect us!

The two towns also collected thousands of dollars for the families of the seven officers who were killed in the ambushes on July 16.

These officers confided that to be invited by strangers to come and play for free, created a great deal of skepticism. Who would do this? Washington is so far away, why would they do this? What is the scheme? They were still pinching themselves on the third day. This was one of those, “It’s too good to be true,” deals, that was true.

The weather was perfect the whole time these honored guests were here, with temperatures in the mid-seventies. As far as we know Woodland and Ridgefield Washington are the only towns who have done something like this for our men and women in blue. The idea was brilliant. The blessings these two towns had to offer, besides loving and generous people, were our mountains, forests, rivers and abounding wildlife.

To come up with a way to share the bounty of our little spot on earth was a God breeze and to pull it off with such joy and love was a miracle.

Terry was privileged to be the photographer for the three-day event and we came away from it with a deeper appreciation for our police. We’re proud to live in Woodland, Washington and a country where the majority is law abiding.

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