Montana Strong: Fire relief support flows

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While this summer’s historic fire season is finally beginning to wane, residents across Montana are still reeling.

More than 1 million acres burned, families lost homes and livelihoods were swept away in a flash of flames.

But when the going gets tough, Montanans are at their best.

We’re not surprised by the outpouring of support that has flowed from communities across the state to support those most affected by the fires. The American Red Cross of Montana has brought in $70,000 in donations since July, with $14,500 coming from Northwest Montana counties.

McDonald’s restaurants across the Flathead collaborated with the newly formed Disaster Relief for Montana to raise an additional $20,000. The Whitefish-based Montana Shirt Co. was able to donate $25,000 through sales of their own Montana Strong T-shirt, an amount that was matched by the Montana Television Network.

Maybe most impressive has been the flood of support coming out of Lincoln County. Students at Eureka’s Lincoln County High School directed that donations at the annual Rumble in the Jungle school fundraiser go to fire relief. Residents stepped up in droves last weekend, donating an amazing $44,000 in just four hours.

At a time when federal and state funding is maxed out, neighbors have stepped up with their checkbooks in hand to help provide critical disaster relief. Good on you, Montana.

A Montana role model

We note the passing of longtime Bozeman legislator Dorothy Eck with sadness.

A Democrat and proud liberal, Eck played an important role in shaping our state’s Constitution at the 1972 constitutional convention, and shaping policy for 20 years as a state senator.

Eck told the Bozeman Chronicle in a 2011 interview, “I think basically my philosophy has always been if you see something that isn’t working well, don’t just complain. See if you can do something about it.” As Eck noted, “That can get you in a lot of trouble,” but it’s the right thing to do.

Dorothy Eck, who died Saturday at the age of 93, did her part to promote her beliefs and to institute change across the state of Montana. Everyone can learn from her example. Don’t just talk; get involved, and you can make a difference.

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