Locals help grieving children

October 19, 2010

By Laura Geggel

Grief is incomprehensibly difficult for many people, especially children.

Now, grieving children have a place to cry and bond with friends going through the same experience of loss. Former Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer has reached out to children with his network of Camp Erin bereavement programs across the country.

Linda Treosti (far right) stands with some of her friends and volunteers in front of her horse trailer loaded with supplies this summer for its trip to Camp Erin. By Jane Quirk

The camp is named for 17-year-old Erin Metcalf, of Woodinville, who met Jamie Moyer through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Metcalf died of cancer in 2000, her family worked with the Jamie Moyer Foundation to set up a camp that would help children grieving from the loss of a loved one, a grief felt by Erin’s sisters and family.

The camps — 36 in all — are staffed by counselors and other volunteers, who help children manage their grief.

For the past few years, more than 20 volunteers from Issaquah have helped with the local Camp Erin at Camp River Ranch in Carnation.

For Jane Quirk, volunteering with the camp is just one of her good Samaritan projects. Quirk volunteers at Providence Hospice of Seattle, and she and the staff there have agreed to donate their time and services to Camp Erin.

When Quirk moved to Issaquah in the 1970s, she often enlisted her neighbor Linda Treosti to help and hang out with her.

“We’ve just been friends for a thousand years,” Quirk said. “She babysat my kids and we rode horses together. She’s a good person and always willing to help someone.”

The two kept in touch when Quirk moved to Snoqualmie Ridge in 2001, with Treosti often asking Quirk about her latest volunteer ventures.

When Treosti heard about Camp Erin, she wanted to help.

As a volunteer, Quirk helped transport supplies from Seattle to Carnation, a lengthy trip she had to make multiple times.

“It got to be such a hassle to haul it out,” Quirk said. “Each Sunday at 2 p.m. we were looking at all of this stuff and we knew it would have to go back to the bunker.”

Treosti had a better idea. She drove with Quirk to Seattle, loaded her horse trailer with art supplies, games, chairs and tents, and made the trip in one fell swoop. She also enlisted the help of about 20 Issaquah friends, who volunteered to also drive supplies to Camp Erin.

“One time, she just said — she knew how difficult this transporting thing is — ‘How would it be if me and my friends helped you?’” Quirk said. “She always helps me out when I’m doing my volunteer things I get myself into.”

Camp Erin Coordinator Ward Stern said the camp’s volunteers loaded and unloaded the supplies, which would make them exhausted before the camp had even started.

“We really appreciate the work they do,” he said. “It changes how we run things.”

This year was no exception, with the Issaquah volunteers transporting Camp Erin supplies for the annual Aug. 27-29 camp.

Treosti said she admires the camp’s mission, and likes to work behind the scenes.

“We just drop the stuff off and disappear,” she said.

Darlene Campbell, of Issaquah, has volunteered to drive her truck for the past few years, though she insisted her work was nothing compared to the volunteer work of everyone else.

Even so, Quirk said she “can’t imagine doing it without” Treosti and her crew.

Before, “we were near collapse trying to pack everything up and get it to fit in the car,” Quirk said. “I know a whole bunch of us made many, many trips. For them to come in and do that, you’re exhausted at the end of a weekend anyway, and then when you have to look at piles of things that have to fit in your car — ” she said, finishing her sentence with a sigh. “The help that they give us, it’s one of our most favorite parts. It’s immeasurable.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or lgeggel@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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