SALMON CREEK — A newborn boy and his parents found safe passage home from the hospital Wednesday thanks to a volunteer with Clark County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.
Jackson Burkett, the 3-day-old son of Ashley and Aaron Burkett, was shuttled home from Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in a silver SUV equipped for driving in the snow, driven by volunteer Isaac Yocum. The couple would have otherwise braved the winter roads in their Honda Civic, without chains, to take their first-born child to their Battle Ground home.
“It probably would have taken two hours if we drove,” said Aaron Burkett, 24.
Ashley Burkett, 22, said the couple weren’t really weighing their options until a nurse floated the idea of asking one of the volunteer search-and-rescue members with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. The volunteers had already spent the day getting hospital employees to work.
“Staying another night was not an option,” said registered nurse Rachel Wulf, noting that the hospital needed open beds, plus additional costs would have been hefty.
The volunteers have offered free rides in bad weather to hospital employees for six years now, according to coordinator Terri Wright.
“There are patients here stuck in the hospital,” Wright said. “Five years ago, there was an elderly gal stuck in the ER for several hours and there was nothing the hospital could do and her husband couldn’t get her home.”
There were 15 volunteers driving for the hospital Tuesday and Wednesday — which turned into two of the busiest days Wright can remember.
“It started last night and it’s been going all night long, all morning and all day,” Wright said, adding that they transported at least 60 people to work, and took a handful of people home.
The Burketts, who made it home around 4 p.m., said the snow made for a bumpy ride, but it was nice to not have to worry about the drive.
“It was nice to have the calm and not have anxiety driving home with my newborn,” Ashley Burkett said.
Yocum, the driver, said he was glad to help. As a father of two, he knew the pressures for new parents.
“I think it’s probably a big stress reliever for me to take them home,” Yocum said.