Alameda Addison and her granddaughter Zoe Bevis were in the caravan Saturday night returning to Pendleton after the championship high school basketball game in Baker City. They did not make it home.
The vehicle they were in was among the 20 involved in multiple crashes on an icy Interstate 84 between Cabbage Hill and Deadman Pass.
Zoe is at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane. Several members of her family are there with her. Alameda died Sunday in a Richland hospital. She was 58.
Zoe attends Nixyaawii Community School on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Nixyaawii principal Ryan Heinrich said Zoe was the only student at the school who suffered serious injuries in the collisions. Alameda was an avid supporter of the school’s athletic teams. Nixyaawii employees, the booster club and other members of the reservation community pulled together Tuesday to hold a lunch fundraiser at the school gym for the Bevis family.
The line for the meal wound out the concessions area and along the gym wall. They served around 200 lunches about 90 minutes into the event. Heinrich said people were waiting when the fundraiser opened at 11 a.m. Linda Sampson and Aaron Noisey, the Nixyaawii athletic director, were making chili as fast as they could for the Indian tacos.
Sampson, a booster, said the community’s support is typical in times of crisis, but Alameda and Zoe make it easy.
“I just know what she did for us,” Sampson said.
Alameda was an impressive baker, probably self-taught, community members said, and could make any kind of special cake.
“It was a talent,” Sampson said, recalling when Alameda baked and decorated a cake to look like a hand drum for a fundraiser.
Alameda, who worked at the Bureau of Indian Affairs for 37 years, also traveled with Zoe and her grandchildren on the pow wow circuit.
“She was one of the most dedicated grandmas I know,” Sampson said.
Noisey said the schools they compete with are offering to help.
“I’ve gotten emails and texts from the ADs in our league asking what could we do,” he said, and the Baker community is sending a donation.
Sampson and Noisey were among the locals trying to get home Saturday, along with any number of others helping at the feed. They said the snow melt from earlier in the day froze solid that night, but semi drivers and others, including a pickup hauling a trailer, ignored the danger. Vehicles lost control and smashed into each other, snapping plastic and crunching metal. They said there were no road signs warning about black ice.
Sampson said the worst part was feeling helpless to help others.
She and the crew making the food Tuesday are making more food for Alameda’s ceremony Wednesday at the tribal longhouse. Now is not the time to cry, she said. That comes later, at a ceremony just for crying and grieving.
But holding back, she said, can be hard.
An earlier version of this story misidentified the Nixyaawii athletic director.