When snow blanketed the Puget Sound in mid-February, several local men made it their mission to help the Federal Way community.
It started with a simple post on Facebook offering to shovel snow from driveways or sidewalks. The four men didn’t think much would come of it at first, but they ended up assisting between 30-40 houses in the Federal Way and Auburn areas.
The group, who are the Mirror’s Hometown Heroes for February, includes 19-year-old Cristian Perez, 20-year-old Koltin Carpenter, 19-year-old Tevita Kata and 19-year-old Ryan Hatch.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the men are serving in the King County area as missionaries.
Knowing the sudden snowfall may create problems for elderly or vulnerable community members, the men decided to “show our love for the community and for our Savior,” said Carpenter.
Some people requested their help via social media. Otherwise the group spent their weekend driving around various neighborhoods in a reliable Toyota RAV4.
“We’d pull up, jump out of the car and help them,” Perez said. “Seeing their days be made, made our day even better.”
Though the area gets a reputation for having gray skies and the “Seattle Freeze” mentality, these small interactions offered a glimpse of brightness, Carpenter added.
Carpenter, who is originally from Arizona, is 19 months into his two-year mission. Prior to serving, he spent much of his time with family, enjoying the outdoors and welding or fixing trucks.
Perez, a basketball player from Texas, has been serving for about a year. Being on a mission, especially amid a pandemic, has helped him realize how important it is to show love to fellow humans through the word of God.
“In today’s world, I want to help people realize they mean something,” he said.
With more than 200 missionaries serving in the King County area, housing is scarce. The men are living in a Federal Way hotel for the time being. Though their basic needs are met, Perez said, the men spend most of their days outside of the hotel “finding ways to do good and share God’s message any way we can.”