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Fueling the search: a town keeps investigators on task

August 03, 2011
WEST STEWARTSTOWN --- They a say an army marches on its stomach and the same goes for the over 100 officials searching tirelessly for the formerly missing 11-year-old Celina Cass, but thankfully the public and town officials have shouldered that responsibility.

"Everybody is coming in from all the different towns, people are just coming over and dropping stuff off, it's awesome," said Stewartstown Selectman Jim Gilbert on people dropping off trays of food for the effort.

The town selectmen also decided unanimously to foot the bill, providing a blank check for buying food towards fueling the search effort and plan to iron out the effect on the town budget after everything's settled, noted Gilbert. Donations have also come in from the Cos County Nursing Hospital and area restaurants. All the food the town is buying is local from the likes of Towle's Minimart, La Perle's IGA and Solomon's Store.

Not only are the town and locals supplying subsistence they are also taking the time and effort to cook and prepare it all as well. On Saturday around 5 p.m. seven civilians were hurriedly putting meals together in the Stewartstown Community School Kitchen right next door to where officials were mapping out their next moves on the search. Of the seven there wasn't a professional cook in the bunch noted Bill Allen, Emergency Management Director for the Town of Stewartstown. That is except for Whitney Covill who worked previously for the Rainbow Grill, but mostly as a dish washer mentioned Allen, yet was cooking up a storm of breaded chicken breast just the same. That day alone they went through 10 boxes of chicken breasts.

"We're going to be serving chicken pie, shepherd's pie, spaghetti and chicken parmesan," said Allen who usually only cooks for his wife on Sundays.

Volunteers in one form or another have been cooking for investigators every day since Wednesday. The Beecher Falls Fire Department has even dropped by a few times to make breakfast.

"We go through about eight cases of water a day easily, 14 bags of ice and we send sandwiches, ice and water to the woods," said Allen. "We're just trying to do the best we can with what we got."

For people out in the field the volunteers run a delivery service to the field command to make sure everyone is fed.

Allen wanted to say thank you for everyone that dropped off food or volunteered in helping in the search for Cass.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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