James Luna of rural Sequim stands next to his Honda Pioneer off-road vehicle that he uses to reach snowbound people in rural areas around Port Angeles and Sequim. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

James Luna of rural Sequim stands next to his Honda Pioneer off-road vehicle that he uses to reach snowbound people in rural areas around Port Angeles and Sequim. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Solmar man, 70, helps snowbound elderly get medication

James Luna aids the isolated with utility vehicle

A Solmar-area man rammed his scrappy 1,000 cubic centimeter utility vehicle over snow drifts 5 feet deep in Clallam County’s highlands to help recently storm-bound residents and an area utility system.

There’s still snow in those hills, said James Luna, who remains on watch this week despite the fact that the snow that gripped the North Olympic Peninsula for most of the first two weeks of February is rapidly receding at sea level.

Luna, who turns 70 in two weeks, helped elderly residents obtain their medication as the snow continued to pile up in Clallam County between Feb. 4-16.

He also employed his wits in talking down, by phone, a panicked 94-year-old man who was determined to plod through 2½ feet of the white stuff to the pharmacy until other rescuers came to his aid.

Luna worked in concert with Clallam County Emergency Management and a woman who assisted. They “were all communicating to avoid a situation,” Luna recalled.

“I was with him on the phone for 45 minutes to an hour.”

Luna didn’t know specifics on the man’s medical condition, just that he was on the verge of endangering himself.

“He’d been outside, and he was actually thinking about walking outside, down a 600-foot driveway through the snow to the road,” Luna recalled.

“I told him, you don’t need to do that.

“It could have been disastrous.”

Someone else went to Safeway, picked up the man’s medication and delivered it to him.

Someone else plowed the man’s road.

“This really brings the community together,” Luna said.

“There’s a lot of people jumping out there, helping.

“That’s the nice thing about our small community.”

James Luna sits behind the wheel of his Honda off-road vehicle at his home in rural Sequim. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

James Luna sits behind the wheel of his Honda off-road vehicle at his home in rural Sequim. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Luna, piloting his “pretty remarkable” Honda Pioneer, took one man from his residence on Blue Mountain Road, close to 1,000 feet above sea level, into Port Angeles for his medications and food, then took him back home.

Luna helped the man by utilizing the www.nextdoor.com neighborhood networking site, traveling over snow 2½ feet deep to reach him.

“He was so relieved,” Luna said.

“Nobody could get up there.”

Luna said he remains on call for Black Diamond Water District, whose maintenance employee he drove to about 1,000 feet above sea level to address a serious issue with a pumping station.

“It was close to 5 feet” of snow, Luna said.

“You could snowshoe, but it was a long way up there.

“He wasn’t too sure I could make it up.

“We had a steep grade, and we just went right through it.”

Luna, owner of Power Tech Video Inspection Services of Sequim, conducts remote video services for pipeline, marine and other industries.

“It was slow for me business-wise, so it worked out for me, too,” he added.

Luna also remains on standby for Clallam County Emergency Services.

For the next snowy go-round, he’s further armed his go-anywhere four-wheeler, which he’s named Luna Track.

“I just built a little plow for the machine today,” Luna said.

He already has a siren.

Paul Gottlieb is a Senior Staff Writer with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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