Robert Gray students help tornado victims

Nine-year-old Mark Fraidenburg saw the wreckage on television, the bits and pieces of homes that remained after the mile wide funnel-cloud tore through town.

As the Robert Gray Elementary student watched the news coverage of the tornado that ripped apart Moore, Okla., on May 20 he thought of the kids there, what they might be feeling and how he might help.

“I thought there were probably some people who lost everything,”he said. “I thought they probably need something, something they could hold on to, something to call theirs.”

Team effort

Fraidenburg then took his older sister, fifth-grader Lillian, and went to counselor, Tamarie Butcher, to talk about helping. The three came up with the idea of a stuffed animal drive. He has called on his classmates for donations, walking around to each classroom and has already accumulated more than 100 stuffed animals for the drive.

“I’m just so proud,” said Christa Fraidenburg, Mark’s mother. “I mean for an 8-year-old, he came up with this all on his own and followed through. I just didn’t expect it. He just really wanted to help”

Drop off boxes for new or lightly used stuffed animals are located at three Aberdeen locations, Jodesha Broadcasting, 1520 Simpson Ave., Grays Harbor Pediatrics at 611 North F St. and Highland Pediatrics at 615 North F St. Monetary donations to cover shipping costs can be made online at