OSO, Wash. - Like a grandmother at noon on Thanksgiving, all Corey Nimmer desired was to feed someone.
The hot dog vendor had driven from Lake Stevens to bring dinner to search and rescue teams.
“That’s all I wanted to do today,” he said dejectedly, standing by a roadblock. The officer had told him firmly, “Nobody is going to be getting in beside the emergency vehicles.”
Nimmer had no idea helping others would prove so difficult.
Already, he’d been turned away at the Oso fire department. But Nimmer couldn’t just drive home, not with $1,000 in donated sausages, buns and soda in his truck.
A Red Cross representative had assured him there would be hungry people to feed.
“Are you sure they still haven’t eaten?” he asked, when he called the Red Cross back.
Disaster scenes are all about access. Drive an ambulance or a busload of searchers and you’re in. But despite all his good intentions, Nimmer was out.
He decided to take one last crack at the officer. Maybe someone could drive the hot dogs in.
“They just told me to go down and talk to the fire department,” he said, after that attempt too ended badly.
“Somebody’s going to eat dang it,” Nimmer finally said emphatically.
Then he set up his canopy and turned on his burner. If he had to dispense his hot dogs by the side of the road, then that’s what he would do.
“You hungry over there bud?” Nimmer yelled to a TV news photographer who wasn’t at all interested in a hot dog.
Then everything changed. The Red Cross called back. Disaster officials needed food at the command post back in Arlington. The canopy came down, and Nimmer was back on the road.
“They’re hungry, they’re hungry,” he said excitedly.
So much is wrong about this week, but at least one thing was right.
Corey Nimmer ended his day dispensing hot dogs, on the right side of a police line.