Jake Jabusch and Lucy Robinson unload totes of supplies at the Wrangell docks. The supplies were brought over from Petersburg to help the community recover from the landslide. (Photo by Angela Denning/CoastAlaska)

Story by Colette Czarnecki and Angela Denning

A few dozen Wrangell residents on Wednesday unloaded two boats full of supplies at the dock. They goods came from Petersburg on nearby Mitkof Island. Lucy Robinson led the effort. She’s with the local Parks and Rec Department. She says they’ve been unloading all kinds of supplies – not only food for humans but also for dogs, cats, and chickens who are stranded past the landslide. 

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“The community has been fantastic reaching out, asking what they could do,” Robinson said. “So, I did reach out to our Wolfpack, our Wrangell wrestlers, the team is always fantastic. We also tossed it out on all of our social media platforms and KSTK asking for help and folks just showed it up. I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls asking, you know what people can do. And this is a great, great thing.”

Many Wrangell residents are looking for ways they can pitch in, even if they can’t be at the site of the landslide themselves. Robinson says donations have been coming in from all directions.

“I was walking down the street and I got stopped by a vehicle, someone I know. They pulled me over to their window and said that they’d like to help out,” said Robinson, “and they were really busy with family things and work and they just handed me over $1,000 in cash and asked me to get it to the right places.”

Wrangell residents unload a boat full of supplies at the docks. The supplies were brought over from Petersburg to help the community recover from the landslide. (Photo by Angela Denning/CoastAlaska)

Another community member, Mike Lewis who owns Tiny Taxi, has been offering free rides to anyone in town since he found out about disaster.

It’s just such a tight knit community you always know somebody or somebody affected by whatever happened during a tragedy on an island like this,” Lewis said.

He’s offered his services around the clock. He says he’ll keep doing it as long as people need rides. During a ride around town the night after the landslide, he described his most recent pick up.

“Recently I gave some people a ride out here around three mile who were given the go ahead to either evacuate or stay because they live on the edge of a little mountain out here as well. They called me and asked me to come get them. They decided they were going to stay at the Stikine Inn and so I ended up giving that family a ride into town. Other than that I delivered some food for the city, for the fire department, for the volunteers and the workers out there,” Lewis said.

The Stikine Inn has taken in evacuees and first responders. Valerie Nakamura and her family are staying there until the area around the slide is deemed safe.

“My whole life living here I think this is probably the biggest disaster I’ve seen to deal with Mother Nature,” said Nakamura. “Yeah, this was pretty sad. A lot of people say they felt the rumble.

Just a few days ago her brother had been staying less than a mile away from where the slide came down. They moved him out just in time. 

“My brother’s been camping out the road rail. But actually, we just packed his stuff up. And he’s been moved campsites,” Nakamura said. “Thank God we moved him from where he was, he would have been pretty close to us just right before the bridge there. We were out at 12 mile, and that’s where we were moving stuff out of my mom and my stepdad’s property out there at 12 mile. And we’re gonna set camp up there. We just didn’t make it out there after everything happened.”

With the holidays approaching, this resilient community shifted its focus to supporting anyone and everyone – sharing warm meals, rides and donations.