St. Helens High School to replace vanished band trailer
It's a mystery that may never be solved, but one thing is certain: The generosity of the people of St. Helens was on full display.
Back on July 13, a trailer packed with equipment and supplies used by the St. Helens High School marching band and color guard programs went missing from the high school parking lot.
To date, the trailer has not been found, but a massive fundraising effort was launched with great success.
Noelle Freshner, St. Helens High's band director, said no major clues have surfaced as to what may have happened to the trailer after it was reported stolen.
"Nothing has turned up," Freshner said. "We had a couple of little leads here and there, mostly from Facebook. At one point, we called into Portland police to have them go check out a trailer. But ours has not turned up."
The St. Helens community stepped up once people got word of the school's loss.
"We raised over $13,000 to replace the trailer and all of the contents, which is incredible," Freshner said. "It was beyond the goal that we had set originally."
Fresher said all of the contents of the trailer have been replaced.
"We have replaced all of our tents, all of our buckets, all of our cooking supplies," she said. "We took all of those new items with us this last month to two marching band contents, one in Grants Pass and one over in Hillsboro."
Among the cooking supplies stolen with the truck were roasters, slow cookers and various other kitchen supplies, intended to keep band members fed on their travels.
Freshner estimated the cost of replacing everything was about $10,000.
"Because of such wonderful donations, we were actually able to get a brand-new trailer, in production now, that is larger than the one that we originally had," Freshner said.
The new 20-foot trailer should be ready for the band program to use by the start of 2022 or soon thereafter.
Donations for the new trailer came from a variety of sources, according to Freshner.
"Much of it came just straight-up from donations from the community," she said. "We were sent some checks. We had at least one real estate organization in town present us with a fairly large check."
Freshner continued, "GoFundMe was pretty successful. We did a big can and bottle drive where we dedicated all of the funds. … We actually were able to fill our trailers three times with cans and bottles from the donations in that one three-hour can drive."
Freshner also said donations came from outside the community, even from competing bands.
Freshner gives plenty of thanks to the community for helping raise money for a new trailer.
"They've always been incredible, but in this situation, it was absolutely amazing to see everybody step up and support us," she said. "We feel very loved and valued in our community right now."
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