Man dies shoveling snow in Southwest Washington, deputy helps finish clearing porch

Sgt. Garique Clifford, a deputy with the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, shovels snow off Kathleen Gladish's front porch and stairs. (Photo: Tori Caravity-Haeder)

Sometimes a small act can mean a lot.

Snow piled high in the community of Stabler last week, just outside Carson. About a foot of snow is still on the ground there. All the snow on top of Kathleen Gladish’s roof fell onto her front porch Saturday. The pile of snow nearly reached the top of her door frame.

Gladish couldn’t dig out, but her husband, Gary, did. She said he was headed to their car about 20 yards away. He never made it back.

Gladish says her husband likely died of a heart attack or stroke after all the shoveling. He was found in the car. Gladish described Gary as a quiet, family man. He was 61.

It took Gladish about a day before she could dig out of the home to find her husband. That’s when she called 911, help arrived, and when that small act happened.

While waiting for the coroner to arrive, Sgt. Garique Clifford, a deputy with the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, began shoveling the snow off Gladish’s porch.

Gladish said it was extraordinary.

“I cried. It was just wonderful that he would just do that,” she said.

Tori Caravity-Haeder, a close friend of Gladish, snapped a photo of Clifford shoveling. She shared it on Facebook and it began to spread.

“He was trying to finish the job that Gary started,” said Caravity-Haeder.

“I just thought he was being above and beyond what he really needed to do,” Gladish said.

Clifford told KATU News it was “a no-brainer.”

“Generally, if someone needs help and I have some time, I'll help them out,” he said.

Clifford went on to say, “Sometimes if you just spend a few extra minutes to 30 minutes with somebody, helping them out, it goes a long way.”

On its Facebook page, the sheriff’s office said, “We are so proud of our men and women here at the Sheriff's Office, who are all dedicated to this community. Thank you Sgt. Clifford for being a shining example of what it means to serve.”

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