Neighbors pull together to aid shooting victim

Firefighter who lives nearby leads effort to drive away fear

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

 

YOU CAN HELP

• The Hough neighborhood will hold a Chalk the Walk event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 21 at 22nd Street and Lincoln Avenue, the location of the shooting, where community members can write uplifting messages in chalk on the road and sidewalk. The main Chalk the Walk event takes place in Uptown Village along Main Street. Participants are encouraged to share a photo of what they draw on the Chalk the Walk Facebook page or tweet it with the hashtag #chalkthewalks.

• Anyone who wants to make a meal for the Molines can sign up on their Take Them a Meal profile: http://takethemameal.com/meals.php?t=IQKL8583.

• People can support Nick Moline’s medical bills by donating to any Umpqua Bank branch under the “Nick Moline Medical Fund.”

Chalk the Walk planned Aug. 21

Following the shooting at 22nd Street and Lincoln Avenue that shook the Hough neighborhood early Monday, Vancouver firefighter Nate Cook wants to keep his community united.

Cook was one of the first on the scene just after midnight. While watching television with his wife, he heard gunshots and a scream. He ran out of his Lincoln Avenue house and assessed 18-year-old Nick Moline's gunshot wounds before paramedics took him to PeaceHealth Southwest.

He worried that the shooting would cause his neighbors to seclude themselves and stop talking to one another. Fear can overtake neighborhoods, he said, and make them places where people don't want to live.

"We've already seen people who are responding out of that fear, and we're hoping we can change that," Cook said.

Cook and his wife, Jasmine, set up a meal donation program to help out the Moline family over the next three weeks. They created an online Take Them a Meal profile, and 18 people have already signed up to make a meal for the family of seven.

The Cooks said they're just paying it forward. When they had their first child, people gave them meals. And about a year ago, when a neighbor's house on Lincoln Avenue caught on fire, the Hough neighborhood got together to prepare meals for that family.

"I think it really communicates love to people," Jasmine Cook said. "Everybody needs to eat."

More ways to help

The Cooks didn't stop there.

They set up an account at Umpqua Bank to help pay Moline's medical bills. People can donate at any Umpqua branch to the "Nick Moline Medical Fund."

Umpqua Bank also sponsors Vancouver's annual Chalk the Walk event Aug. 21 in Uptown Village along Main Street, at which people can write uplifting messages in chalk on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. A woman who works at the bank suggested the Cooks organize a similar event in the Hough neighborhood.

So they're inviting people to write positive messages at the location of the shooting, to promote peace in the neighborhood.

"Bringing community together is a way to create a safety net," Cook said. "I think people really do want to care for their neighbors. They just don't know how."

Cook said people should understand the importance of getting to know their neighbors. He knows a lot of the families in the Hough Neighborhood, and he had the victim's younger brother over for a lunchtime barbecue the day of the shooting.

"It's really just knocking on our neighbor's door and saying 'Hi,'" he said.

He wants his two sons, who go to VSAA, to grow up learning to serve their community. Cook grew up in Vancouver and had a gun pulled on him during gang riots while he was a student at Hudson's Bay High School.

"It kind of hurts my heart," he said. "It's hard that some of these tragedies have to happen for us to come together. If we break down those walls we don't have to live in fear."

Patty Hastings: 360-735-4513; twitter.com/col_cops; patty.hastings@columbian.com.