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By Andi Bourne

Returning the Favor


September 14, 2017

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

The fellowship area at Seeley Lake Baptist Church is filled with donations including toiletries, cleaning supplies, food, clothing and toys. It will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis Tuesday, Sept. 12 - Friday, Sept. 15 from 2-6 p.m. each day.

SEELEY LAKE – The Seeley Lake Baptist Church had no idea what to expect when they were contacted by Amynda Behm from Minot, N.D. Behm wanted to bring donations for people who have been affected by the fires. Monday morning, Sept. 11 it took seven people an hour to unload the trailer full of supplies that she had collected from the Minot community in less than a week.

The 2011 flood in Minot destroyed most of city and affected the Behm family directly. There were more than 5,000 people evacuated from their homes. Behm said there are people in their area still recovering from the flood.

"There [were] a lot of people that helped us during the flood and we just wanted to return the favor," said Behm.

Behm and her husband Jason have a lot of ties to Montana. They are both Montana college graduates and Behm worked for James Talcott Construction, Inc. out of Great Falls, Mont. when they did the renovations on Seeley Lake Elementary in the late 1990s. The Behms also have family in Bozeman and Kalispell and their boys love to ski so they make frequent trips west in the winter.

Behm called the Red Cross and United Way. When both told her that all the needs were met, she started calling churches and schools.

"We didn't want to deal with any national organizations. It is much better to go directly to the people," said Behm.

Behm asked one of her past students, who now lives in Lincoln, what area she thought needed the most help. She told her Seeley Lake.

Behm spoke with Laura Greenwood at Seeley Lake Baptist Church and Seeley-Swan High School Principal Dr. Kathleen Pecora. Both provided ideas of what items would be good to donate. They also gathered things that they themselves needed in Minot when the 2011 flood dissipated including things for children to do while their parents dealt with the aftermath.

Behm put the word out in Minot starting Tuesday, Sept. 5. The local news station Fox News at Nine picked up the story and ran it Thursday night.

"Honestly that is what filled our trailer at the end," said Behm. "We were probably one-third full and in a day and a half we were full."

Andi Bourne, Pathfinder

Jason and Amynda Behm of Minot, N.D. unloading their 36-foot trailer of donations at the Seeley Lake Baptist Church, Sept. 11.

The Behms drove the trailer over and dropped off the supplies including pet food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, food, clothing, cases of water and toys for children. They also brought exercise balls and resistance bands for the high school students since their activity is restricted in gym class and for sports because of the smoke.

"We are happy to see that it is going to a good cause," said Behm. "Everyone was so welcoming and thankful. It was nice."

Members of the Seeley Lake Baptist Church were overwhelmed by the generosity for the community and were in awe by the amount of the supplies donated.

"It's pretty amazing," said Laura Greenwood. "We are just happy we could help and get the donations to people who need them. These people were so generous and we are so thankful."

UPDATE: Donations were handed out Tuesday and Wednesday. There is still a used shop vac, used lawn chair and used bucket and broom head available. Everything has been distributed!


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