Mason Slicker wasted no time in helping out his community in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
“I was riding my bike around and tarping roofs … for free for people who couldn’t pay, of course,” the 16-year-old Hahnville High School sophomore said of what he did immediately after coming from evacuating.
And his volunteering efforts only ramped up from there.
“My aunt works for United Way, and she told me she needed a lot of help, so I went over and started helping,” Slicker added matter-of-factly.
Tamara Plattsmier, United Way of St. Charles’ volunteer and event manager, said her nephew has done more than just help.
“He is the hardest working 16 year old on the planet,” she said. “He is always asking me for more work. I love him to the moon and back and I don’t think I will ever be able to thank him enough for everything. Any company would be lucky to have him as an employee.”
Plattsmier said she was tasked with setting up a food and distribution site at Boutte’s River Parishes Community College just two days after Hurricane Ida devastated St. Charles Parish.
“I was the only employee really able to work because everyone was evacuated and I needed help to open up this distribution site,” she said. “I immediately thought of Mason. He’s the hardest working kid I’ve ever known, and I knew he would be such a great asset. He didn’t even hesitate, and he started working that day … he’s been here ever since.”
UWSC Executive Director John Dias said Slicker has indeed been volunteering seven days a week at the site.
“Mason has been an invaluable volunteer – working every day of the week and helping United Way distribute over 300,000 pounds of food and supplies,” Dias said. “’He is a hardworking kid.”
Dias said Slicker has done everything from delivering supplies to running a forklift.
“Well, they asked me if I could run a forklift and I said, ‘No, but I can learn,’” Slicker said. “Thirty minutes later I unloaded an 18-wheeler with like twenty pallets on it.”
Plattsmier said it was unlike anything she had ever seen.
“Yeah, so I had this forklift but I didn’t have operator, and he just got on it the first day and taught himself how to operate it … it was amazing,” she said.
Like many St. Charles Parish residents, much of Slicker’s life is in limbo since the storm – he is currently living in a camper in his front yard because of damage done to his home, and his high school has yet to resume classes.
But as to whether he has found a passion in volunteering and is eager to continue helping?
That is certain.
“Oh yeah … one hundred percent,” he said. “I’ve slept here a couple of nights. I like the experience … just meeting people and helping people.”