Hathaway heads to Ground Zero
The county counsel heads to New York representing the Salvation Army and Jefferson CountyNews Editor
Following in the footsteps of Mark and Donna Strong, fellow members of the Madras Conservative Baptist Church, Paul Hathaway will be the next Jefferson County resident to travel to Ground Zero of the fallen twin towers in New York City .
"I feel blessed," said Hathaway, who leaves today and will return on Dec. 10. "It's a privilege. There's no other way to describe it."
As the Salvation Army's Jefferson County extension agent, Hathaway was invited by an official from the agency's Portland headquarters to assist recovery workers.
The Salvation Army has been rotating groups from around the country to feed workers and provide other services at Ground Zero, and Hathaway was selected as one of nine individuals to go from Oregon.
"Most of the people going on this are from the Portland Metro area, but we selected Paul because he's a natural for a thing like this," said Shaun Jones, the Salvation Army's service extension director for the Cascade Division, which includes all of Oregon and Southern Idaho.
The Salvation Army has served more than 2 million meals to recovery workers at ground zero since planes destroyed the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11. Hathaway will serve at one of six Salvation Army feeding stations that operates around the clock or at the warehouse where free clothing is being given to displaced workers who escaped the Trade Center towers before they fell.
Hathaway will also head to New York as a representative of Jefferson County.
He serves as County Counsel to the Jefferson County commissioners. In the middle of their meeting last week, Hathaway received a phone call from Jones inviting him to lend a hand at the disaster area in New York.
He initially turned down the offer because of his duties to the county and sheepishly told the commissioners of the opportunity he had just passed up as their meeting concluded.
Commissioners Janet Brown, Bill Bellamy and Mike Ahern then decided he could go as a representative from Jefferson County.
"I think this will be really nice that a small rural county like Jefferson County can send someone to help," said Brown.
Hathaway's expenses will be picked up by the Salvation Army, and he will exchange some personal benefits from the county in order to miss work.
But it's a small price to pay for the opportunity, Hathaway said.
"The Lord has a reason for these kinds of things," Hathaway said. "I'm a man of faith and the Lord wants me to go. I don't know why yet, but I'm stoked."
As the Salvation Army's local agent, Hathaway provides food and gas vouchers to those in need and also finds temporary housing for less fortunate Jefferson County residents.
He is a man well known for his service.
"He volunteers a lot of time over and above his office work," Bellamy said. "So it's nice that we'll get to do our two cents as a county by sending him."
Hathaway said he isn't quite sure what to expect, or how the experience will effect him, but he is eager to help those who are performing the grave tasks at the disaster area.
"What they do has got to be an awful job," Hathaway said. "I can't even imagine what it's like. Now they're just picking through remains.
"Some of these people will need spiritual support so this opportunity is a blessing."