Clichés be damned – it takes a village to weather the Tahoe storm | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Clichés be damned – it takes a village to weather the Tahoe storm

Cassandra Walker cwalker@sierrasun.com

Snow removal on Highway 267 toward Northstar (before the gas station in Truckee).

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Tahoe-Truckee locals have witnessed flooding, avalanches, power outages and a whole lot more during this week's massive winter storm system.

The one constant through all the challenging conditions has been the phenomenal North Tahoe and Truckee public service teams who are seen plowing the streets throughout the night, repairing downed power lines, digging homes out and responding to dangerous situations.

And several local residents and businesses are doing their best to return the favor.

"I wanted to find a way to show appreciation and gratitude for all of the amazing workers that spend endless hours trying to make sure we are able to travel and stay safe in our beautiful community," said Faith Smith, an office coordinator at Tahoe Forest Hospital who's been inspired by over a week's worth of 12-hour shifts her boyfriend and so many others have been putting in during the storm as they care for the region. "They hardly ever get a chance to have a warm meal or drink so we figured this would be the best way to let the community provide that for them."

Thus, Smith and her friend Stacey Fite, a longtime local, have begun a grassroots campaign through a Facebook page called "Truckee Tahoe Pay it Forward."

The idea is that local businesses can join the helping-hand bandwagon, offering discounts and accepting donations for service workers to enjoy drinks and meals free-of-charge for as long as possible.

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"It's been crazy. Fun, but crazy," said Stivin Soriano, a Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal worker who was smiling as he made his way through the Prosser Lakeview neighborhood Friday in Truckee to help remove residents' trash. "The customers really appreciate us getting rid of their trash, digging them out, getting the power back up. They're really excited about that and it's nice that they're thankful."

Marg's Taco Bistro owner Kevin Sloane is one of many in support of this great cause.

"Without their dedication and commitment, we wouldn't be open," Sloane said Friday while taking a break from working at his restaurant in Truckee's Brickelltown District.

Sloane, who has a firefighter as a brother, said he understands the impact a little appreciation can have.

"These important jobs are in a thankless industry – we know we're getting the help we need and these workers go out day after day without thanks," he said. "So we want to show them that local businesses see all that they do and appreciate them."

Marg's Bistro will be accepting donations for service industry workers on a gift card. The restaurant will match donations up to $1,000, and the grand total will be used to throw a taco party at Marg's in late January.

Over at FiftyFifty Brewery on Brockway Road, the crew there is happy to lend a hand.

"We had to shut down when we didn't have power, so let's get everyone out of their house, and invite them down to have a beer and say thanks," said Zachary Dennis, FiftyFifty bartender, on Friday while at the brewery. "We were short staffed and had a limited menu but no one seemed to mind, the bar was finally open and now we want to say thanks for getting the community through what's been kind of a biblical snowstorm."

Mick Daly, owner of the Tuff Beanz coffee shop on Palisades Drive in Truckee, runs a similar program year-round to support local response teams.

"The locals really appreciate what the police and fire do throughout the year but they've really been kicking butt to get us out of this," he told the Sun Friday. "We get a lot of visitors to town and now we're prepared for them thanks to these guys." He said the campaign is extra special to him because he was a police officer for 15 years, "this just makes me want to get involved; it's near and dear to my heart."

Several other businesses from Incline Village to Truckee and in between are joining the movement, accepting donations and offering whatever they can to show their gratitude.

Below is a list of local businesses joining the call-to-action as of 5 p.m. Friday — be sure to follow "Truckee Tahoe Pay it Forward" on Facebook —http://www.facebook.com/truckeetahoepayitforward — for real-time updates, as more businesses and volunteers may get involved.

Coffeebar Bakery (Donner Pass location), Starbucks (Truckee), Tuff Beanz (Truckee) and I.V. Coffee Lab (Incline Village): all accepting donations to compile on industry workers' gift card.

Marg's Taco Bistro (Truckee): Will match, dollar-for-dollar, contributions up to $1,000 to host a taco party for service workers later this month.

FiftyFifty Brewing Company (Truckee): Accepting donations to compile on industry workers' gift card. Crew members can get one free beer on tap with a work ID or current paycheck stub. Further, until 10 p.m. Friday, the brewery was offering 50% off all beer on tap as part of this campaign.

River Ranch Lodge (near Alpine Meadows Road): Offering free, non-alcoholic hot beverages to patrollers and all public service entities as well as a drink token to redeem an alcoholic beverage off-the-clock with a work ID or current paycheck stub.

Rubicon Pizza (Village at Northstar): Accepting donations to compile on industry workers' gift card.

Firesign Café (West Shore): Accepting donations to compile on industry workers' gift card.

Public service crews recognized in this effort need only provide some kind of work identification to redeem discounts and deals.

These service men and women include the Town of Truckee Public Works Department, Truckee Police Department, Truckee Donner Public Utility District technicians, snow removal crews, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Transportation crews, Placer County Sherriff's Office staff, regional EMT and fire first responders across North Lake Tahoe and Truckee, and any other public works and/or utilities workers who have played a part in the flood work and snow removal.

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