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Howl for Missoula 2020 to honor Health Care & Essential Workers during Covid
Photos: Sam Supplee Neiderman | Ben Smith / Missoulian - Howl for Missoula MT | gsw

THE WOMAN WHO STARTED A HOWL
My name is Amy Crider.
I am a 45-year-old married mom of two. And the first time I raised my voice to howl
outside for the world to hear was the best thing ever! Here's my story:

In late March, when Montana's Governor announced Shelter in Place to slow the spread of Covid-19, it was a little scary for our family here in Missoula. My husband Dan of eight years is an Essential Employee, delivering necessities to convenience stores and some big box stores. My daughter Kaleigh, 15, is a freshman at Big Sky, and my son Korbin, 6, goes to Kindergarten at Hellgate Elementary. I am a retired cosmetologist due to Fibromyalgia, Neuropathy, and a list of other health issues, including Diabetes.
With Dan traveling around the state, my stress and anxiety increased every time he came home. I was uncertain if our family was being exposed to the virus. I worried about being high risk due to my Diabetes. My mental health began to spiral. Not being able to leave the house was starting to play a huge factor in my mood.

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One day, a Facebook friend shared a page called "Go Out and Howl at 8 pm."  I kinda laughed about it, but thought "What the heck. I'll go howl." So, at 8 pm that night, I stepped out on my back porch and I howled. It was the best thing EVER. It was the best release of frustration I had felt in a long time.

Then I read about Sun Valley, Idaho, howling at 8 pm for their health care workers, essential employees, and those affected by
Shelter in Place. When the lady who posted the article suggested we should start something similar in Missoula, I just went with it and started the page HOWL for MISSOULA. I wanted others to know that no one has to fight this battle alone. When we step outside our doors at 8 to howl, it is a great way to talk to your neighbors, but still practice safe social distancing. Kids can get outside right before bedtime and get some fresh air and get out all the wiggles.



 
Amy's story continues below.

BUT FIRST MEET CHARLIE,
who loves to howl anytime, anywhere.


Touch here and Video Play buttons appear.



THE HOWLING KIDS OF ELLIE LEONARD


We have four kids: a girl (age 9) and three boys (ages 7, 3, and 16 months). The oldest two understand and like to participate and encourage Howl for Missoula. The younger two (including Charlie) just like to howl. My husband watches the clock and let's them run outside just before bed. Our neighbor is a good howler so they like to join in with her over the fence. They understand the idea of community in a hard time because we have lived in Lolo for several years, including during the fires of 2017, so they kind of associate what's happening right now with the sense of community we had that summer.


Interesting Note:
Ellie's tweets about Howl for Missoula have a famous following. She says, "I just posted our nightly howl and [the actor] Taye Diggs kept liking them, I think because he's part of some type of hashtag for 8:00 cheering.  But he liked several."




About Our Howler:
Ellie Leonard raises her children with her husband in a small town called Lolo, which is on the southern edge of Montana's second largest city Missoula and owns Red Pencil Transcripts,
which was profiled in the New York Times (April 2020).






The Woman Who Started A Howl
Amy Crider's Story continued

Running the Howl page has definitely been an experience for me. When I said I went with the idea, that is exactly what I did, and it has been amazing. Emotional. The thanks and gratitude we receive from healthcare workers and essential employees is so heartwarming. I just sat and cried when Providence St Pat's Health Center sent out a mass email thanking everyone for the support of the Howl.

And the dogs that join in are so dang cute and lovable. But saving the best for last, I must say the howls of the little kids are the absolute best. So innocent and sacred.

Note: My six-year-old son loves to howl. My 15-year-old goes nowhere near it. She thinks we’re all crazy.


********

We had about 400 identitifed howlers the first night (April 1st). We had nearly 1,000 the next. After that, I cannot even tell you; the numbers in the group grew so quickly. Our Facebook group in early May is 15,347.

The howl grew quickly and kept getting louder each night. It was so awesome. One lady shared a video of the howls from Mount Sentinel. We did have some issues with fireworks, but that's stopped, thankfully.
Now that restrictions are being lifted in Montana, I still encourage the nightly howl. With the elderly and high risk being asked to continue to shelter in place -- and the health care workers, essential employees, and now non-essential employees working the front line -- there is still very much a reason to howl.

###




Touch here and Video Play buttons appear.


* Paula Huston during a walk on Mount Sentinel captures the sound of Missoula howling to support Essential Workers during the 2020 pandemic.




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Howl For Missoula 2020 T-Shirts
James Matovick, ER Nurse from NV, comments on Howl for Missoula 2020

To commemorate the spirit of Howl for Missoula,
Amy authorized a local artist to create a T-Shirt image to raise money for health care workers. As of May 6th, Howl T-Shirts are being distributed, and the group has raised $4,200 for the United Way, St. Patrick's Hospital, and Community Medical Center. Thank you all for your support!

READ THE STORY OF HOWL MISSOULA
as covered in the Missoulian Newspaper.



NOTE FROM AMY:
I am very thankful for my Howl for Missoula 2020 Facebook Page Co-Admin Sam Niederman and moderator Nikki Kelly for all they do to help me behind the scenes. Sam supplied the cover photo for the page. I also want to thank Tina Gottfried for suggesting a T-Shirt fundraiser and for finding Kara Maul of Companion Portraits to create the image.


 
 
 
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