Feb. 15—LA GRANDE — A six-man volunteer snow removal team made its mark in Union County during the weekend.
The team, using shovels and other manual equipment, cleared snow from the driveways of between 40 and 50 homes in the La Grande and Island City area plus two in Union.
Almost everyone they helped were seniors or people who are physically compromised, said Jaxson LaFeber of Austin, Texas.
LaFeber and the other members of the snow team are age 19-21 and with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in La Grande for a portion of their two-year mission work. As missionaries, they are volunteer representatives of the church who engage in church service, humanitarian aid and community service.
The snow busting team's members began working Friday, Feb. 12, after offering free snow removal service via Facebook.
"We had a good response right away," LaFeber said.
The gratitude of the locals they helped struck him.
"Some people wanted to pay us," he said.
But the group would not hear of it.
"We were happy to do something to help people for free," LaFeber said.
The Austin resident was joined in his snow removal efforts by Eli Sampson of Arlington, Virginia; Bridger Bodily of Kingman, Arizona; Josiah Moulton of Gilbert, Arizona; Samuel Palmer of Deer Park, Washington; and Brian Wilkinson of Dallas, Texas.
The team worked through the early evening of Sunday, Feb. 14. The biggest challenge the young men encountered was clearing snow from a home with a four-car garage.
"It had a huge driveway," Bodily said.
Wilkinson said he wanted the people he was helping to see there are individuals eager to reach out to others.
Moulton said the sense of urgency he felt energized him, knowing how critical it was to keep the snow from hemming people in.
"There was an immediate need," he said.
The team will offer its snow removal services for at least another week.
To request their help, call 541-216-8393.