Community steps up to help Orting woman without power for 20 days

VIDEO: Community steps up to help woman without power

ORTING, Wash. — A Pierce County woman who has been living without power for 20 days has a new reason to be thankful.

“I can’t believe that they’re going to do that for me,” said Ruth Clarke.

Overcome with emotion, tears welled up in Clarke’s eyes as she talked about the outpouring of support she received from her own community.

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“Your utility company won’t do it, but these perfect strangers are going to come in here and help me get power. It’s incredible,” she said.

Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, a windstorm knocked down a tree in Clarke’s yard, which took out her power pole.

“This is what takes the electricity into my house and into my well shed. Naturally, I don’t have any power, so I don’t have any water either,” she said.

Clarke was shocked when Puget Sound Energy workers told her replacing the downed power pole is her responsibility because the pole sits on private land. She said the repairs would cost about $4,000.

For weeks, Clarke has lived off a generator, which only runs a handful of appliances. She’s heating the house with a wood stove and buying gallons of water to clean, bathe and drink.

The outage has also made it tough to get water to her chickens and cows.

Clarke needed help, so she contacted KIRO 7. She couldn’t believe how quickly her community stepped up.

“God bless you for helping me, I’m so grateful, thank you so much,” she said.

Within days, donations hit $5,000. A local utility company stopped by Monday and plans to help Clarke put up a new power pole this week, just in time for Christmas.

“I’m just so happy, so happy. These are tears of joy, tears of joy,” said Clarke.

Donations raised will also replace Clarke’s old utility box, which is from 1973.

Clarke said she will use any leftover donated money to pay it forward.