DSHS staff lights up lives for residents at Yakima Valley School

A lighted box truck for the Yakima Valley School parade.
A lighted box truck for the Yakima Valley School parade.
A box truck decorated for the Yakima Valley School parade. Photo courtesy of YVS.

Along with caring for citizens during a pandemic, staff at Yakima Valley School in Selah worked like elves this season to ensure the residents don’t miss out on holiday traditions. One tradition typically includes taking residents to watch the Selah Lighted Christmas Lighted Parade.

This year, because of COVID-19 restrictions and heightened health risks, YVS staff brought the Lighted Parade to the residents.

On Dec. 16, Santa (Erik Pearson) and YVS reindeer staff adorned pickups, a fire truck, a box van and other vehicles with lights and decorations. They fashioned a parade that traveled through the campus and each cul-de-sac. Along with caroling, residents enjoyed hot chocolate and candy cane-flavored ice cream at the parade’s conclusion.

“The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and it is especially difficult for our residents who thrive on personal contacts and community engagement,” said Tammy Winegar, school superintendent. “The staff here recognize that and have gone to great lengths to ensure everyone at Yakima Valley School feels joy this season.”

Kimberly Eglet, food service manager for DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration, agrees.

“With everything the residents and staff have been through, this was definitely the highlight of my year,” she said. “Not just because Christmas is my favorite time, but because so many people from all departments came together to make this special event happen.”

A special thank you for making the event possible and everything you do year-round to Transform Lives:

· Stephen Rodriguez
· Tony Gonzalez
· Rhonda Gottschalk
· Jeremy Davidson
· Jasmin Bailon
· Mirand Tousley
· Tammy Winegar
· Morgan Stroh
· Steve Partlow
· Aron Devall
· Machon Mendez
· Michael Wentz
· Erik Pearson
· Troy Stewart
· Corey Sinclair
· Carol Koreski
· Romie Garcia
· Anngla Lennartz
· Debbie Krawcyzyk
· Emily Medeiros
· Virgil Clark
· Morgan Anderson
· Marlie Parobek
· Ashley Brownlee
· Kimberly Eglet

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