Volunteers caring for horses of landslide victim

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by ROB PIERCY / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 1 at 5:10 PM

ARLINGTON, Wash.— While an army of volunteers digs through the mud and debris searching for victims, there are other volunteers doing another important job. They're helping care for the animals left behind.

There are so many unsung heroes in the landslide tragedy. Alexis Blakely is one of them.

Alexis is a full time college student who’s helping to care for the horses of one the slide victims. Her day begins before the sun comes up and it won’t be over until long after it sets.

On a small ranch just a mile and a half from the slide zone, Alexis Blakey has a job to do.

“This is Summer Raffo’s farm and she has all the horses here,” she said.

Alexis met Summer when they both volunteered out at the Darrington rodeo.

“Summer was the type of person where, you know, she was always there and would help anyone even if she didn’t know them at all,” said Alexis.

Summer was on her way to help a friend with horses when the landslide buried her car, killing her.

“She loved horses and she loved caring for them,” said Alexis.

The day after the slide, Alexis knew it was her turn to help. She rounded up supplies and volunteers to care for Summer’s 16 horses.

Every day after classes at Everett Community College, Alexis is at the farm.

“It’s definitely therapeutic. I don’t look at this as work at all. This is just fun,” she said.

Alexis has been so busy, she didn’t let herself cry until two days ago.

“It just really hit me that there’s a lot of people gone, and they’re gonna be missed and I’m never gonna be able to talk to them ever again,” she said.

But then it was right back to work.

“Everyone’s come together out here and it’s been amazing to see,” said Alexis.

Summer, she says, would have done the same.

“I always thought I had the best neighbors, but now I feel like the rest of the world knows that too,” said Alexis.

Alexis has her own horses to care for in Mount Vernon later in the night. Then it’s back home to do homework.

The alarm clock will ring early the next morning and she’ll do it all over again.
 

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