QUINCY, Grant County — The University of Washington marching band threw a big party for Quincy and George on Sunday to thank the community for being there at a time of great need.
“The night of the accident, everything was pretty chaotic,” said Nicole Pasia, a sophomore alto saxophone player. “We didn’t get a chance to meet everyone who was helping out and to be able to have that opportunity to see everyone who had a part in helping and supporting us is just amazing.”
“I just want to express my gratitude to everyone in the community,” she said.
Pasia was one of 52 students on a chartered bus that rolled and came to a stop on the frontage road while traveling east on Interstate 90 near George last Thanksgiving. The bus was part of a convoy of buses carrying members of the marching band and drill teams to Pullman. Police, fire and paramedics from across Grant County mobilized to respond, with the Quincy schools, hotels and even families opening up to feed and house students while the injured were cared for in hospitals as far away as Moses Lake and Othello, Adams County.
And on Sunday, the Huskies said thank you at the Quincy High School gym with a concert, a barbecue, a $1,000 gift for the George Elementary School music program and a plaque honoring that school’s role in helping band students find shelter that night, and a $4,000 gift for Grant County Fire District No. 3.
“This community opened its arms,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “George Elementary offered safety, people responded, offered parts of their (Thanksgiving) dinner to students. You gave them comfort and showed what it means to be community.”
Cauce said everyone at the UW was scared that night “knowing our students were in danger,” but she said the people of Grant County showed “us the best of Washington with your kindness and generosity.”
Pasia, who is majoring in journalism, said she suffered “pretty minor injuries” despite being on board a bus that flipped over.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t worse,” she said.
Brad McDavid, the director of the UW marching band, said the hospitality and care that Quincy and George showed have helped make him think a little differently about Central Washington. The trip to Spokane had been an uneventful trip, at least until that night, he said.
“Grant County was just some place we passed through on the way to Spokane,” he said. “But we’ll never pass through Grant County the same way again.”
“We’ll never be able to thank you adequately, but we’ll sure try,” McDavid added.