Stepping up, reaching out: Brad Magden goes from handing out water to leading community outpour of relief
When people began evacuating their homes in Estacada and Molalla and retreating to parking lots around Sandy, Brad Magden felt called into action.
The day people from Estacada started setting up camp at the Sandy Cinema and other parking lots, Magden, a Sandy resident went to the Fred Meyer and bought as much bottled water as he could and began patrolling to see who was in need.
"I saw a lot of people displaced." Magden said. "I just went and started talking to people. If I could help out at least one group of people with a case of water, that was time well spent."
Magden explained that at first people seemed reticent to take supplies from a stranger, so he called in corporate reinforcements from his former company. Sandy Les Schwab's owner helped by sending out an employee in a company truck with the water.
Magden's background in giving back actually began when he was a child and his father worked for Les Schwab. The company was always hosting charitable efforts and encouraging employee involvement, even into the years Magden himself worked there.
"(I volunteer) mostly because of a long time of watching my dad help out," Magden said. "I learned that when you see a need you step up and fill it."
This spur-of-the-moment teamwork got Magden thinking about the bigger picture, and soon he was arranging with Les Schwab to host a relief center for those who were displaced.
"From there it just kind of evolved every 24 hours," Magden said.
Once Les Schwab was on board to host the relief center, Hood to Coast volunteered to provide fresh meal kits, Machel Heldstab with Sandy's Helping Hands coordinated other donations and volunteers and Pulliam Transport helped with trucks to store perishable food overnight.
Hundreds of meals were donated daily, and not only to those affected by the fires, but also those without refrigeration and electricity because of the Labor Day windstorm and related outages.
"A lot of people were worried about their pride," Magden said. "I told them, 'You don't even have to ask for help. Just tell us what you need.' We wanted to fill a need without making people feel needy. Seeing the stress melt off their faces was rewarding. If it takes one thing off of their plate, that makes it worth it."
Magden said the effort grew rapidly in the first week of evacuations. He often worked in some capacity to support those displaced and in need from 8 in the morning until 7 or 8 p.m. Besides coordinating the relief center, he also coordinated with other efforts around the county, including those at Clackamas Town Center, and helped patrol for spot fires in Estacada.
"We would go from having two palettes of water in the morning to having nine palettes at the end of the day for the next day, after giving away hundreds of meals," Magden said. When the need in Sandy died down, he also helped get the Estacada relief center up and running.
Though he's participated in charitable efforts like Fill the Boot, Les Schwab's numerous projects and playground build projects for his current employer Kuerig-Dr. Pepper, Magden said this was still the largest and first community-specific effort he's led.
"I think it made it more intense, but in a good way," he explained. "It emphasized how much we needed to (support) our community of Clackamas County."
"I think everyone has a calling in life," Magden added. "Sometimes people don't have the capacity to help. Sometimes my own capacity to help is little and sometimes it's community-big. I don't feel like the idea behind setting up the food relief was to be a hero; it was to help people. I don't think the word hero applies to me. I just like the idea of providing service to people. After this effort, the next time there's a need for something like this, I'll know who in Sandy to call."
The following groups and businesses helped provide supplies for the Sandy Relief Center:
• Sandy's Helping Hands
• Sandy Pizza Hut
• Sandy Panda Express
• Ascent Physical Therapy
• Mt. Hood Cleaners
• Family Tree Doula Services
• West Coast Trucking
• Pulliam Transport
• Sandy Family Restaurant
• Fred Meyer
• Timber Pub and Grub
• Alder Creek Tree Services
• Oregon Trail School District
• Les Schwab Tires
• Sandy 7/11
• Joy Teriyaki
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.