[December 17, 2007] Cameron Beierle, KACS / Heidi Martella, WA Conference
In the dark hours through the crest of flooding in Chehalis and Centralia, Washington, local listener supported Adventist station 90.5 fm KACS Family Friendly Radio remained on the air.
With studios on a hillside between the two towns, and above the flood waters, KACS stayed on the air to live announce emergency service information from municipal, state and federal agencies. Every quarter hour KACS gave updated flood watch reports with information from the National Weather Service, the Lewis County Sherriff's Department, The National Geological Survey, The American Red Cross, and Lewis County Search & Rescue.
After the flood waters began to subside in Chehalis, KACS stayed on live alert continuing the flood watch for communities downstream where evacuation operations were underway, and rivers began to crest. Flooding temporarily left KACS as the only local radio station on the air in the communities most severely impacted by the flood, and in need of emergency service information.
Coordinating with the Lewis County United Way and Rainier Chapter of the American Red Cross, KACS launched one of the first relief and recovery efforts "Cards for the County." Through the continuing live broadcasts and station world-wide webstream, KACS invited listeners to buy merchant gift cards from national chain stores including hardware, grocery, fuel and department store retailers. The cards are being packeted and provided to flood victim families so parents and other family members can meet their most immediate needs.
Station Manager Cameron Beierle says, "We activated the Cards for the County campaign almost as soon as the flood waters were arriving as we've seen this approach work so successfully before." Beierle referred to the previous Cards for Katrina for the Gulf States, and Cards for the Cowlitz in Southwest Washington state.
"Last year we were able to coordinate with the White Pass Community Service Association, the American Red Cross and Lewis County United Way to provide 300 flood families card packets totalling near $10,000 after the severe flooding throughout the Upper Cowlitz River valley. Now we can put Cards for the County to work on behalf of the estimated 1500 families without homes in Lewis and Thurston Counties this Christmas season."
Beierle says the merchant gift cards form retailers like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Sears, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Safeway Stores, Rite Aid, Exxon, Shell and Texaco will be collected through the end of December.
One KACS listener responded to the relief provided by writing in a Christmas card, "KACS thank-you for being here with me on good days and bad days. Your love comes through the radio. Even with the lights out, I keep you on with a battery operated radio... Just like Job, I lost everything, but you’ve been with us everyday. You are a constant reminder that the Lord is a loving, powerful God. I’ve never experienced His love fully until this year. My children have gone through this long journey with me. It has been hard on all of us. Still there is some good, for I am a new person in Jesus Christ, my Lord. I am now part of the church family, and am overjoyed and honored to say thank you!"
Interested persons can give to flood victim families through "Cards for the County" at the radio station's website
www.KACS.org , or send merchant gift cards to Cards for the County, c/o KACS Family Friendly Radio, 2451 NE Kresky, Unit A, Chehalis, WA 98532.