Wednesday, June 16, 2021
June 16, 2021

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Posters donated to help raise funds for acid attack victim

Community eager to contribute

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Michael Brown, right, a manager at the Safeway store in Washougal where Bethany Storro worked at the deli counter, places poster in display stands Friday as Nancy Neuwelt, Storro's mother, watches.
Michael Brown, right, a manager at the Safeway store in Washougal where Bethany Storro worked at the deli counter, places poster in display stands Friday as Nancy Neuwelt, Storro's mother, watches. Photo Gallery

Donations can be made to the “Bethany Joy Storro” account, established by Storro’s Safeway co-workers, at any Riverview Community Bank branch. Riverview has locations in Camas, Hazel Dell, Orchards, Salmon Creek, east Vancouver, downtown Vancouver and Washougal.

Images of Bethany Storro covered in bandages, with her parents on either side of her, have been shown on national TV and in newspapers across the country.

Images of her face from before Monday, when it was severely burned by acid launched at her by a stranger, went up Friday on signs inside the Safeway grocery store in Washougal where she worked.

The signs represent a call to action; the response of a man who said he’d seen Storro behind the deli counter but never spoke with her.

“Help one of our own,” the blue sign urges. “Donate at checkout or any Riverview Branch to help defray Bethany’s medical expenses.”

Donations can be made to the "Bethany Joy Storro" account, established by Storro's Safeway co-workers, at any Riverview Community Bank branch. Riverview has locations in Camas, Hazel Dell, Orchards, Salmon Creek, east Vancouver, downtown Vancouver and Washougal.

“My whole family, we’ve just been taught to give back,” said Pat Guard, the owner of Camas-based Columbia Litho Inc. “She needs a break.”

The apparently random attack has resonated with viewers and readers who learned about the 28-year-old Vancouver woman’s severe burns and the resolve she’s tapped to move forward.

A spokesman with Riverview Community Bank said he couldn’t estimate the amount of money received since the Bethany Joy Storro fund was opened Thursday, only that “there have been numerous deposits.”

“In addition to the response here locally, we’ve received phone calls from New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.,” said Scott Miller, the Riverview spokesman. “This is a story that, while repulsive, has struck a chord across the country, both in the nature of the crime and the message Ms. Storro is delivering about grace, strength, and forgiveness.”

The signs were designed and assembled Friday after Guard contacted Mike Brown, a manager at the Washougal Safeway. From there, “everything just kind of came together,” Guard said.

The 5-foot-tall signs set atop aluminum stands were positioned near the entrance.

“It’s a nice way to present a poster in the middle of an aisle,” Guard said. “That’s the whole idea: get the message out as they come in the store and as they approach checkout.”

Storro was standing near her car, parked on Columbia Street just south of West Ninth Street, on Monday at about 7:15 p.m., police said. That’s nearly one block up Columbia from Esther Short Park and the Starbucks near West Eighth Street and Columbia where she planned to get a cup of coffee.

She says she was approached by a woman, who said, “Hey, pretty girl. How are you? Would you like a drink of this?”

Storro declined, and the slightly built black woman splashed a cup full of some acidic substance into her face.

A passerby reported the attack to 911 at 7:23 p.m., after spotting her, injured, on the west side of Columbia.

Storro’s eyes were spared thanks to a pair of sunglasses she had purchased 20 minutes earlier.

“For some reason, I had this feeling I needed to buy sunglasses,” Storro said Thursday.

On Friday, a day after Storro was wheeled to a podium lined with microphones, her family declined comment.

“We’re not going to do anymore interviews,” Storro’s mother, Nancy Neuwelt, said by phone.

About 7:30 p.m. Friday, Vancouver Police Officer Ilia Botvinnik said he’d been in contact with investigators on the case and there was nothing new to report.

A Legacy Health spokeswoman said it remains unclear when Storro, who underwent a dermabrasion procedure Wednesday, will be released.

Detectives from the Vancouver Police Department returned to the park Friday, this time with a composite sketch of the alleged attacker.

Storro described her assailant as black, with black hair pulled into a ponytail. She was approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall. She was wearing a green top and khaki shorts.

“We’re just getting into the tip line and tracking down the information that’s come in since we received the composite,” said Detective Sgt. Scott Creager

Storro had recently returned from Priest River, Idaho, to her native Vancouver.

She said during her press conference that she was coming forward, bandages and all, in hopes it would help police capture the woman who struck her with a substance her doctor believes was a sulfuric or hydrochloric acid.

Guard, Safeway and moved donors have stepped forward to help Storro fulfill the pledge she made Thursday: “I can’t let what she did to me wreck my life.”

Those with information in the case are asked to call Det. Wally Stefan at 360-487-7425; or call 911.

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