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Jesse Robert Zaugg, 34, died June 9, 2018, in a vehicle accident on Seward Highway outside of Anchorage. He was born Aug.
Spaghetti feed to benefit Rockport, Texas
A man puts spaghetti into a to-go box during a fundraiser on Saturday at Ketchikan Fire Station 1. The proceeds of the spaghetti feed will benefit first responders in Rockport, Texas. Staff photo by Alaina Bartell

Daily News Staff Writer

On Saturday, over 200 people filtered into the doors of  Ketchikan Fire Station 1 at 70 Bawden St. for a spaghetti feed fundraiser, through which proceeds will soon be used to benefit the people in Rockport, Texas, in light of Hurricane Harvey.

Alaska State Trooper dispatcher and Ketchikan resident Steve Hayburn set out with a goal to raise money for the small town, and ended up raising over $4,000 on Saturday. People paid $10 for a plate of spaghetti, salad and a roll, which was all donated from area businesses. Because firefighters planned to feed 300 people, the leftovers were donated to a homeless shelter.

There was also a dessert auction with more than 40 donated pies from members of the community. Hayburn said people he didn’t even ask to make pies did, and he’s grateful to the Ketchikan community, especially the volunteers at the event.

“I tried to shake everybody’s hand that came through,” he said. “I am actually really lost for words. I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart. There’s just so many people that I thank. Those firefighters, they stayed on their feet all day long behind the line there. I don’t think one of them sat down the entire six hours.”

The money raised will be used to pay for a Thanksgiving dinner for Rockport first responders, and also will help Rockport’s fire department — Lamar Volunteer Fire Department — with Christmas gifts for area children and families who are still displaced.

“It’s something I wanted to do, and I know the people down there needed help,” Hayburn said. “The eye of the hurricane actually stayed in Rockport longer than it should (have), because I guess a cold front came in, and actually forced the hurricane to stay over Rockport instead of come up and dissipate throughout the state.”

Hayburn estimates that 30 percent of Rockport was destroyed when Hurricane Harvey hit at the end of August, and 30 to 40 percent of the remaining community will not be rebuilt. A flood victim himself two years ago, he knows somewhat what the people in Texas are going through.

“I can’t imagine Ketchikan losing 30 percent of what we have,” he said. “I’m just very grateful to everyone in this community that (has) came out. I know it’s the end of the year and there’s been a lot of fundraisers this year and people are tapped out.”

Chief Carl Stubbs of the Lamar Volunteer Fire Department told the Juneau Empire on Oct. 31 that the city was still in cleanup mode, as people are still collecting debris from their property.

On Sunday, Hayburn will travel to Rockport for about a week to help with the cleanup effort and deliver over $6,000 he has raised for the cause. Hayburn noted he’s paying his own way to Texas, and he will be bunking at the fire department while he’s there.

Stubbs spoke with the Daily News on Monday, and said he has a few plans for Hayburn when he arrives.

“My plans are at least to show him around the area, since all the work he’s done to raise money for us down here,” Stubbs said. “To show (him) what has happened here, and possibly how the money will be used since he’s gone through the work of raising it.”

There’s always something to do in terms of cleanup efforts, Stubbs said, but he’s also hoping Hayburn will have some fun while there.

“Whether it’s taking him fishing, or something like that,” Stubbs added. “He’s coming all this way, (we can) at least show him some of the local sights.”

Stubbs said he doesn’t even know what to say to the people of Ketchikan who have donated to Hayburn’s fundraiser.

“Being from that far away, for us to even be in their thoughts, and for them to actually donate … is just unbelieveable,” Stubbs said. “All I know is I appreciate everything that he’s doing and everybody that has donated to the cause.”