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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow HELPING HILEMAN



By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

WALLOWA — The friends and community of a Wallowa woman miraculously found alive after eight days stranded in a mountain canyon are pulling together to help her.

Neighbors are doing her chores, a community card is sent once a week, and a talent show and pie auction benefit for Mischelle Hileman will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Wallowa Senior Center. If possible, the Hileman family may call during the auction from Boise, where Mischelle, 39, remains hospitalized in serious condition.

Use of the senior center is being donated by Community Connections. Connections Manager Carolyn Pfeaster will put bid numbers on the pies to be auctioned off by Jake Seavert of Union.

Admission is free. Items being donated by Shell Mercantile include free doughnuts and coffee.

Two of the pumpkin pies were made by Hileman herself, before she became lost elk hunting Oct. 27.

The first 30 minutes will consist of entertainment led by old-time fiddler Charles Trump. The 85-year-old Trump, a friend of the Hilemans, organized the event.

"We want to try to do everything we can for them," Trump said.

Michelle Phillips will sing, and Peggy Brennan will play guitar, with Jan Casey on piano. The fiddlers will include Bob Casey and Mel and Becky Byers. Mel is the Christian Church minister, an emergency medical technician and a search-and-rescue captain.

Some 300 person days were logged by more than 70 people searching 24 square miles for Hileman.

"We're hoping the National Guard will donate the (time of) the helicopter" (that rescued Hileman), said Nancy Trump who has been helping her husband, Charles, put up posters for the auction and arrange announcements donated by KWVR Radio and Crestview Cable TV.

The auction is another example of "Wallowa working together on stuff life this," Nancy said. "They dig deep for a good cause, and the cause is great.

"Pies paid for the (senior center) building," Nancy said about previous auctions and fund-raisers the community held to supplement grant funds received to construct a new senior center a few years ago.

Hileman's survival in light clothes through temperatures that dipped to zero is "a flat out miracle," Nancy said. "God is bigger than us. He can do


She was one of many whose prayers were answered when Hileman was found alive. Now they're praying for her recovery.

Hileman is thought to not have medical insurance, a friend said.

Contributions can be made to an account in Hileman's name at any Community Bank branch. Well wishes can be sent to her at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, 1055 N. Curtis Road, Boise, ID 83706.

Another example of the community stepping up for Hileman is Celene Gay, one of the six EMTs on the Wallowa ambulance, distributes a card people in the community sign that she sends to Hileman's room at the hospital once a week. Gay and her husband, Ron, own Shell's Mercantile.


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