“THERE’S NOT NEARLY ENOUGH KINDNESS IN THE WORLD” I read this morning on Facebook. They must not live in the small towns along the North Oregon Coast, I thought to myself. My grandson, visiting from Los Vegas, was puzzled by a smiling person waving at him as he drove down Anderson road. Then he remembered– “oh yeah, I am in Nehalem now.”
Last year at about this time, when the flood waters were rising, I wrote a piece called “local angels,” about people who show up in times of crisis to help others. “They look like ordinary people—muddy boots, soaked raincoats, drenched windblown hair,” I wrote, and told the story of the driver of a black pickup that spent hours ferrying others in his wake across a lake on North Fork Rd.
Crises seem pretty easy to find this year as the darkness of winter settles in and the rains drench the hillsides. Water rises in the fields and across the roads. Add to this, a tornado, and then an election that sent many into fear and despair. There is much need across the land. Yet, in this special place where I live, I am again inspired by the many acts of kindness and Beauty I see around me. People who live their lives by the “heart.”
I want to tell the story of a man who lives in our community who cares deeply about the animals . Since he might not appreciate being called an “angel,” I am going to call this man a local hero. His name is Lee Blockman. If you are a stray, either human or animal, you are lucky if Lee happens by.
He runs a 501C3–“Animal Haven by the Sea Rescue.” He will come to the aid of any animal in trouble and also delivers pet food to people who, for the moment, cannot afford it. I first heard of Lee from a friend whose elderly mother was at the Nehalem Care Center. She told me of a young man who brought a pack of small dogs to visit the patients there and how much cheer the dogs brought to her mother. My daughter, who lives in Lee’s neighborhood, speaks of hearing the commotion of birds outside in the early morning . Looking out her window, she sees Lee, running down the street, tossing bread crumbs in the air followed by a flock of crows. Most likely he was also followed by dogs, cats, raccoons, chickens, a goat, and whatever else needed a bite to eat.
Lee arrived at my place yesterday a little late. He works as a handiman to help support his very large family of critters. Some he can find homes; others are too old or sick and become his housemates for the rest of their lives. On this morning, Lee arrived with a van full of nine dogs, hanging out windows every which way, and barking. He apologized profusely for bringing the dogs and being late. It seems he had come across a homeless man sitting in front of Manzanita Fresh Foods with his head in his hands. The man was cold, wet, hungry—and very discouraged. It took a few hours to find him shelter, food, warm clothes—and a tent.
As we worked and talked, Lee told me this was the last day for two of his dogs, a black Weimaraner and an adorable Beagle. Age and illness had finally made their lives not worth living. For a few hours, he helped with chores around the place—trimming tree limbs, filling a pot hole, loading up the recycling–then he was off to help two of his good fur buddies let go.
Animal Haven by the Sea Rescue is located in a modest house on a small lot near Nehalem. Presently, the landlord wants to sell the property and Lee is trying to raise funds to keep his Animal Rescue going. This is a person who puts his life where his heart is, helping those in need– especially the four leggeds of our community. If you can help keep him here doing this important work, visit GOFUNDME.COM \SAVE-ANIMAL-HAVEN or ANIMAL HAVEN BY THE SEA MANZANITA