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Vic Spatzierath, right, pulls a load onto a truck with the help of Corey Lucas, in the dark sweatshirt, and Thomas Laverdure at the Helena Indian Alliance. The goods were collected with help of the VA and destined for the Blackfeet Reservation, which is suffering from extreme winter weather.

Tom Kuglin,

A large box truck left the Helena Indian Alliance Tuesday afternoon, loaded with goods destined for a corner of the state under a state of emergency due to unrelenting snow and wind.

Gov. Steve Bullock declared a winter storm emergency for the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap and Northern Cheyenne reservations and Glacier and Golden Valley counties late last month. Waves of snow and brutal winds are battering communities and left schools closed and some residents stranded.

In response to the emergency and a call for supplies, the Helena Indian Alliance became a drop-off point for donations going to Browning – a project spearheaded in conjunction with Montana VA Health Care System.

“We got the declaration and we got on the phone and said ‘What can we do?’” said W.J. Buck Richardson, Minority Veterans Program coordinator for VISN 19.

Soon the donations began rolling in, said Terry Casey, chief of voluntary Service at the Montana VA. Donated items include food, baby items, bottled water, pet food and toiletries.

“We’ve been off to the races since last Thursday,” she said.

Donations will continue to be accepted at the Helena Indian Alliance as long as the need is there, Casey said.

Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 @IR_TomKuglin