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“Having a good time together and doing God’s work,” is how 35-year-old Kelcie Dorsing Brewer described her recent week of volunteering for Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) in Okanogan, Washington. 

She’s planning to go back and, given the urgent need for volunteers in Okanogan, she’s planning to go back in the coming months. She thinks others should sign up, too. Wildfire survivors who lost everything in the Cold Springs Fire, which burned 189,923 acres and 78 homes in north-central Washington in September 2020, have been living in sheds, cars, and crowded quarters with extended family.



Dorsing jumped at the chance to help them.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “MDS for me has always been a positive experience.”

She volunteered with her father and her cousin, and enjoyed meeting new people as well. “It’s just always such a joy to be with like-minded souls, even if they come from different church backgrounds,” she said. “We’re all here having a good time together and doing God’s work.”

From the Seattle, Washington, area, Dorsing made a six-hour drive to reach Okanogan, which some might consider a bit out of the way. 

It’s worth going, Dorsing urged. “The Okanogan site is in such beautiful country,” she said. “You’re up in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.”

The scenery, she added, is breathtakingly beautiful. “Everything was covered in snow. The sunrises are beautiful. The sunsets just turn the whole sky pink, and then the snow just turns pink as well.”

Dorsing worked on three different houses during her week of service in mid-January. “Two had roofs, one did not,” she said. “I met one of the homeowners and I decided I’ll be up there again. I have some vacation days in the coming months.”

"It was wonderful, MDS for me has always been a positive experience."

— Kelcie Dorsing Brewer, Volunteer in Okanogan, Washington


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