Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, on December 2 and 3, a severe winter storm swept across Oregon and Washington State. Countless first responders came to the aid of those in need and worked tirelessly to restore order in the aftermath of the storm. I strongly support H. Res. 851 in recognition of the dedication, service, and courage shown by these men and women.
The winter storm affected dozens of communities and many thousands of people in Washington and Oregon, including my constituents in the Nineth District of Washington. It struck the Pacific Northwest with a ferocity that is rarely seen in the region. The storm brought winds that exceeded 100 miles per hour, saturated the region with 10 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, and led to the loss of human lives. Homes and businesses were flooded, roads and thoroughfares were damaged or swept away, and thousands of citizens were left without electricity, heat, water, transportation, or adequate shelter.
Throughout and following the storm, the men and women of local and state police agencies, fire and rescue groups, local and state emergency first-response organizations, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Oregon and Washington National Guard were ready to respond to the extraordinary circumstances. They rescued those trapped by the rising waters, provided aid to those in need of critical assistance, and helped to limit the ill effects of this tragic weather event.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I want to call particular attention to the service of the Washington National Guard. Some 400 Washington National Guard Members, 70 vehicles, and 11 teams supported response and recovery operations, conducted house-to-house searches, and provided needed food, water, and other emergency provisions. In cooperation with many other local, State, and Federal first responders, the men and women of the Washington State National Guard performed their duty admirably, and I am very grateful to them.
Please join me in honoring the Washington State National Guard and recognizing the many other first responders for their contributions during the winter storm of early December. I urge my colleagues to support H. Res. 851.