Identity of Good Samaritans revealed

Libby residents Tanya Olsen and her mother, Laurel Miller, recently found themselves in the right place at the right time while visiting a small farmer’s market in Kalispell.  The pair of accidental Good Samaritans were later applauded by Judy Rowland of Evergreen Acres Farmers Market for their calm and supportive actions on Thursday, December 10, when Rowland was overcome by a COPD attack at the quaint roadside stop. Courtesy Photo


By Stacy Bender


“I was reading your article in this week’s paper,” Terri Nussbaum of the Yaak wrote in an email to the Montanian on Wednesday morning, December 17.  “I realized it was a story my mother had just shared with me.  Your mystery angels are my mother and my sister.  I’m so proud of them both!”

The article which Nussbaum referenced had been commissioned by a Kalispell business owner just days prior.  Judy Rowland of Evergreen Acres Farmers Market had succumb to a COPD attack when attempting to help the pair of Libby customers on Thursday, December 10.  Rowland told The Montanian that had it not been for the now identified mother-daughter pair, she firmly believes her day would have ended in much more dire fashion.

Tanya Olsen and her mother, Laurel Miller, of Libby had taken a day-trip to Kalispell to do a little shopping and spend time together.  “As we were driving, we talked about how we had been passing this little market for years and years and that particular day we didn’t run out of time – so we decided stop in and check it out,” said Olsen.

Little did they know what would happen next.  After purchasing a couple of Hutterite-raised chickens, a small 4-inch figurine of two blue birds had caught the eye of Olsen and her mother.  When Tim Rowland then sought the assistance of his wife, Judy, that simple little stop at the roadside market shifted to a classic Good Samaritan tale.
Judy was overcome by the COPD attack the moment she stepped outdoors.  She immediately began to panic. Olsen, a former home health provider, came to Rowland’s side as her lips turned blue and she struggled to remain conscious.  “When the blue crept from her lips to her nose, that’s when I asked Mr. Rowland to call 911,” Olsen recalled.

Due to Olsen’s calm and proactive response, help for Judy arrived within minutes and her health was stabilized on-site.  Miller, Olsen’s mother, had stood watch to flag down emergency personnel once they arrived.

Rowland was ecstatic when reached by phone to inform her that The Montanian had been contacted and her mystery angels were identified.  “Oh, Thank You,” Rowland exclaimed.  “I hope you remembered to tell them they have a gift here waiting!  I can’t wait to see them again!”

“It just felt good to pay it back,” Olsen said of the experience.  “Though not as serious in nature, I have also found myself in need while over in Kalispell.  Once, I had a flat tire at Albertson’s.  One person with some tools in their vehicle began to help and pretty soon two other people with tools on-hand were pitching in, too.  In all, those folks spent 1 1/2 hours helping me.”

An endless commentary of gratitude for the kindness of others continuously flowed as all parties recalled the chance encounter just two weeks past.  The Rowlands, Olsen and Miller all look forward to the day they meet again and fully intend to share a photo together when said reunion transpires.

“Our Kids” brings
Christmas joy to Libby area

As final distributions were coming to an end for the 2020 “Our Kids” Christmas drive, Tammy Brown – who spearheaded the program – paused for a moment with one very grateful mother who fought back tears as she expressed how very excited her kids were going to be for the gifts afforded them through this year’s holiday outreach. For full article on “Our Kids” Christmas drive  go to Page 7. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.


Making joyful noises for virtual audience

By Stacy Bender

The Libby High School Choir dressed in their classic holiday attire and gathered on their classroom risers to record an unprecedented “Live Christmas Program” soon to be available for public viewing through the school’s online website resources.  “This has been such a challenging year, and we are down several choir members due to current quarantine-requirements as a result of the Covid virus,” shared LHS choir director, Lorraine Braun.  “But we are just so excited to come together and make music for our families and our community, if only in a somewhat restrictive fashion.”

That excitement indeed was tangible for a half-dozen LHS staff members who entered the choir room on Friday, December 18, to socially-distance and enjoy the holiday music the choir had prepared to record for the 2020 Christmas Season.  As the performance progressed, the applause and giggles of glee grew more audibly detectable, employing one to envision the smiles residing behind every mask present.

At the time of this publication, the Libby Middle School Choir was also set to perform and record their song pieces on Monday morning, December 21.  Once released, the link to this year’s LHS/MS Christmas performances will be posted to The Montanian’s Facebook page.


Yaak community joins Wreaths Across America in honoring fallen veterans

By Stacy Bender


On Saturday, December 12, a small group of Yaak residents gathered at the local Rod & Gun Club grounds to build approximately thirty pine wreaths to be laid out at the Boyd Hill Cemetery in remembrance of all U.S. Military Veterans currently at rest within its grounds.

The idea came from information which Sandy Beder-Miller and Larry Miller had shared with their neighbors about the “Wreaths Across America” program.  Started in 1992, a Maine Christmas tree grower, Morrill Worcester, found himself at that time with a surplus of trees and wreaths. Worcester, recalling an early childhood experience which left a large impact on his heart, would then enlist the help of Senator Olympia Snowe to coordinate delivery of the excess greenery to Arlington National Cemetery here wreaths were then placed in one of the older sections of the grounds which had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.


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