No man has invested more time and energy in working to solve the city of White Salmon's water supply issues than Mike Wellman, the director of the Public Works Department.
It is because of Wellman's efforts that the city has an efficient water filtration plant on Buck Creek. This plant, which uses a sand-filtering process, has taken many months of toil to guide to completion, and Wellman has been in the lead every step of the way. The plant is ready to go on-line and begin providing water, and the city is on the verge of finally doing away with the moratorium on new water hookups.
Wellman's guidance in this entire endeavor has been essential.
On March 17, the White Salmon City Council honored Mr. Wellman in a poignant way, and it literally brought tears to his eyes. The council members voted unanimously to name the new filtration plant after Mike Wellman's son, Nathan, who drowned in the Klickitat River in July 1994. The facility will officially be called the Nathan Wellman Water Treatment Plant in honor of the Wellman family.
"This is a way Nathan can live forever," said Mayor David Poucher during the council meeting.
Then, in an unusual display of appreciation, Wellman and his wife Jeanie received a standing ovation from the council members, the staff, and the 20 or so citizens attending the meeting that evening.
Wellman is truly deserving of the accolades, and this is a sensitive and special tribute to his son, who tragically lost his life on the river at the age of 18.
At the same time, the council also honored Bill Locke, a Husum resident and subcontractor who died in an all-terrain vehicle accident while working on the water infrastructure project on Dec. 4, 2009. The city unanimously supported naming the water transmission line that will carry Buck Creek water from above Northwestern Lake into White Salmon in honor of Mr. Locke, who expertly and diligently served as the lead inspector on this vital project.
City Council member Mark Peppel and Mayor David Poucher came up with these thoughtful and imaginative proposals to honor these men, and Peppel and Poucher deserve a great deal of appreciation for doing so. This was a superb notion all the way around.