Camper's Lives Spared in Severe Storm

by Jay Wintermeyer

Falling trees totaled four vehicles and others sustained damage.

An RV crushed by a fallen tree. 

Onlookers observe a tree that had the top snapped off. 

Trees fell atop vehicles and yet only one of the attendees needed medical attention.

A truck smashed by falling trees. 

REPUBLIC, Wash. - Vehicles and RV's were crushed by falling trees and yet miraculously no lives were lost in Friday's wind storm that swept through the Sheridan Meadows Camp Meeting grounds near Republic, Wash.

Campers from across the northwest had gathered for the Northeast Washington Camp meeting, July 17-21 at the Sheridan Meadows Retreat Center. Campers say some people were relaxing and visiting Friday afternoon and other were listening to a presentation on the sanctuary when the storm hit. Suddenly there was heavy wind and trees started bending, snapping off, and falling. The main meeting tent lifted, but did not blow away. One smaller tent, used for children's meetings was completely demolished. "The children in the tent were not harmed, just terrified." says Margie Smith, a member of the Republic Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Four vehicles were reported completely totaled and others sustained damage. In spite of the heavy damage, only one injury required medical attention. A man suffered a broken leg when the RV he was in was crushed by a falling tree. 

In spite of the storm damage, the camp meeting continued Friday night as planned with main speaker, Elder John Bradshaw presenting.

"Angels were certainly on duty," says Upper Columbia Conference President, Elder Bob Folkenberg, Jr. "We're so thankful for God's protection and that no one was severely injured."

According to emergency response personnel in the region, the storm also knocked down more than 60 thousand trees and power lines in Ferry County. As a result of all the damage and power service being out, the Ferry County Commissioners have declared a local state of emergency and have requested the support of the Washington State Emergency Management Division.