How Providence caregivers responded to devastating wildfires

As we all know from the news, this year was one of the worst wildfire seasons on record in the American West. One of the hardest hit areas was Stevens County, Wash., which is just north of Spokane.

Providence has more than 650 caregivers in Stevens County. We operate two hospitals in the area – Providence St. Joseph in Chewelah and Providence Mount Carmel in Colville – as well as five clinics and home care services.


What I find completely inspiring is that, amid weeks of fires, our caregivers never stopped caring for their community – even as loved ones and neighbors were evacuated, and their own livestock, crops and property were threatened or destroyed. They assisted firefighters suffering smoke inhalation and welcomed patients transferred from neighboring Ferry County. They answered the call to serve at a time that would put anyone to the test.

Elaine Couture, our chief executive in Eastern Washington, says it may take months, even years, for the area to fully recover. The fires impacted livelihoods and compromised the health of residents. To assist with the recovery, Providence has made a donation of $50,000 to the American Red Cross Northwest Region. If you are interested in helping, we encourage you to consider making a donation to the Red Cross as well by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

On behalf of the entire Providence system,  I want to personally thank those who served our affected communities so courageously. You are the spirit of Providence in action, and you have made us all very proud.



  1. The caregivers of Providence in Stevens County were amazing – they continued to provide care for all in need, sometimes while waiting to hear if they might need to evacuate their own families and farm animals – I was humbled to see such strong dedication to the Mission during an extremely challenging summer wildfire season and am grateful to belong to such an awesome group of caregivers!!!

  2. Thank you Providence. Once again you show the community that we walk the talk – Know me, Care for me, Ease my way. It HAS been a rough summer. so many folks are still impacted by the fires and other weather events we had here in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties. Folks from each of the counties are in the Stevens County Ministry area served by these dedicated staff. Thank you all. Mary Selecky

  3. Thank you for taking notice! We are a small community out here, but a great one! We had a rough summer, but everyone seems to continue to smile and wave at one another. I love living in this small town. Thank you for your donation to our community, Providence! We will continue to give it back.

  4. The people of Providence never cease to amaze me. Thank you for sharing this story with us, Rod, and thanks for telling us how we can continue to help our brothers and sisters in eastern Washington.

  5. The residents of the communities affected by these fires are some of the most open-hearted people I’ve ever met. It’s not a surprise that they exhibited such selfless service to others while their own interests were also threatened. Thank you, Rod and other Providence leaders, for your donation to the recovery efforts.

  6. Thank you for sharing this information, Rod. Your, Mike Butler’s, and Mike Hall’s blogs connect us with our ministries and caregivers throughout the system.