Young girl's donation drive brings boots for mudslide victims, volunteers

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

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SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. —

Gracie's Truckload of Hope pulled into a Snohomish County schoolhouse. 

The cargo door was lifted and a string of volunteers was ready to unload the contents. 

There were boots of all kinds, leather work boots, hiking boots, rain boots, even waders. 

 “Yeah, I didn’t know we’d get this many.  I thought maybe a box of them or something,” Gracie Shetler said. Shetler is 10 years old. 

As soon as she saw what the mudslide destroyed in Oso, she knew she had to do something for the victims, the survivors, and the volunteers searching through the debris.  With her family’s help, she started a donation drive. 

“Gracie’s been an inspiration to all of us cause she made us get off our butts to do something,” said Shetler’s  grandfather, Dennis Flem.

The charity drive included an appeal for footwear to replace boots contaminated by spilled chemicals, fuel and sewage in the disaster zone. 

“They have to throw everything away since it’s contaminated,” said Shetler.

A call was placed to the Danner Boot Company in Portland. It filled Gracie's truck with 427 pairs of boots. 

Many of them had been returned, some looked brand new.  Their retail worth was thousands of dollars. 

“There’s only one way this could happen, and that’s divine intervention,” Flem said.

There were enough boots to fill the room of a schoolhouse.  Enough boots to make anyone admire what even a child can do in the aftermath of a disaster. 

“It’s unbelievable, it’s great,” Flem said.