Hamilton teens help grandmother in need

2010-04-13T00:00:00Z Hamilton teens help grandmother in needby WILL MOSS - Staff Reporter Ravalli Republic
April 13, 2010 12:00 am  • 

Kids these days ... Sometimes, they get a bad rap.

Sure, they can cause their share of mischief on occasion. Who didn't when they were young?

But, when it really matters, you might just be surprised to find that the kids are alright.

At least, that's how Joni Solander felt a few weeks ago when three Hamilton High School students came to the aid of her grandmother in a time of need.

One evening in late March, Solander was at her father George's house when he received a call from someone saying that his mother Emma Cleland - Solander's grandmother - had fallen down near the Hamilton Safeway while out for a later-than-usual walk through the neighborhood.

When they arrived in the grocery store parking lot, they searched for Cleland, but couldn't find her.

That's when they were approached by 16-year-old Tucker Lehr.

Lehr led them over to the batting cages at a nearby baseball field where he had been about to hit a bucket of balls, chatting with friends Cory Arestad and Landen Faulk, when they saw Cleland stumble and fall.

"I was getting ready to hop the fence and then I just saw this lady walking by," Lehr said. "We were still talking when I saw her start to stumble, and she hit the fence and then fell over."

The three immediately came to Cleland's aid, helping her right herself and asking if she was alright.

"She was speechless for a couple of minutes," said Lehr.

Eventually, Cleland was able to give them her son's cell phone number, which is when Arestad made the call.

Eventually, Cleland's son helped her walk back to her house.

Needless to say, the Solanders were grateful for the teens' rapid response.

"I said, ‘Let me give you guys some money,' and one of the young men said, ‘No, a handshake is payment enough,'" Solander said. "Of course, my dad shakes their hands and says, ‘I want you to make sure you tell your parents what you guys did today and that we need more citizens like you out here.'"

Other than a little bruising to her pride, Cleland sustained no major injury in the fall, nevertheless, her family was overwhelmed by the teens' kindness and good samaritanship.

"It just makes me wonder ... how many people wouldn't have paid attention to her," Solander said. "You look in the paper these days ... and all these things with these youth who don't care, and then you've got three gentlemen like that, who go above and beyond."

Solander even penned a letter to the high school documenting the students' actions and asking that they receive some kind of recognition (much to their benefit, when the school forwarded the letter on to their parents, it provided evidence that supported their stories for not being home on time that evening).

For the boys, however, their response was just part of how they were raised.

"My dad was proud of me because he's an EMT at Lost Trail and he was pretty happy that I didn't freak out or anything and that we didn't panic and just did what we were supposed to," said Lehr.

For Cleland, the boys' kindness was refreshing.

"It made me feel good that they were so kind to go ahead and stop there," she said. "Some people wouldn't stop for an old lady."

Solander hoped the parents would feel good about their sons' actions.

"As a parent, I think a lot of times when you hear that your child has done something it's like, you know, I guess I'm doing this parenting thing okay even though I didn't get a manual," she said. "Being a mom, I just wanted to walk over and hug them .... It's just so incredible and I'm so thankful for them."

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Reporter Will Moss can be reached at 363-3300 or wmoss@ravallirepublic.com.


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(3) Comments

  1. mont4me
    Report Abuse
    mont4me - April 15, 2010 6:13 pm
    Thank you gentlemen for restoring my faith in today's youth. You did good!
  2. just curious
    Report Abuse
    just curious - April 13, 2010 10:12 am
    Great Job Guys!!! This really goes to say that not all of the teens in the Bitterroot are bad!!! There are many more great kids that we just don't know...
  3. Bill H
    Report Abuse
    Bill H - April 13, 2010 6:31 am
    Nice job guys!!!!
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