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PME employees donate hours for flood victims

SUQUAMISH — The employees at the Clearwater Casino and Resort and Port Madison Enterprises are pitching in a few hours here and there to help rebuild what the flood waters destroyed during the Dec. 3 storm — literally.

PME announced this past week workers are taking hours from their vacation and sick leave and donating them to assist residents who suffered the brunt of the flooding that ravaged the area early last week. The PME Board of Directors said it would match each dollar donated to help those in need, especially over the holidays.

“Well, in the past, we’ve done this for different efforts,” said Clearwater Casino Human Resources Director Barbara Griffin. “When Hurricane Katrina hit, people had a paycheck deduction, and we sent that to help. Because the holidays are around the corner, money is tight and people have saved a lot of hours, we decided to do that instead.”

The time donated is converted into funds, which are matched by PME, and employees can donate until the end of January, just to give an extra boost. Griffin said she’s found many workers are more than happy to donate their extra time saved to help residents. She said she’s donated, and many have come forward to give. Employees have to maintain 40 hours of vacation and sick leave, in case they need time off themselves.

“We only got approval (Dec. 6) and already we’ve had $4,400 donated,” Griffin said Tuesday. “We’re extending it to the end of January, to give employees extra time to donate if they want to.”

Some have asked if they can give cash to the cause, but most are happy to give up a day or two off to help. At the end of this past week, Griffin said there would be a check for more than $8,000 signed over to the Red Cross to assist Puget Sound residents. She said most of the causes PME donates to are national and international relief funds, and this is a chance to enact change on a county level.

“The employees are really generous here,” Griffin said. “To put it in perspective, we want to do our part, but the people we help are across the country. I wanted to make sure we helped our neighbors. You see it on the news all the time in remote locations, it’s rare when you see it in your own community.”

Interested employees can cash in their hours until Jan. 31, 2008, and the PME board said it will continue to provide matching funds to ensure as much as possible is donated. The Red Cross will use the money to help residents whose homes were flooded or damaged during the storm.

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