Family, friends hope former Kennewick nurse survived mudslide

By Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldMarch 26, 2014 

Family and friends are holding out hope that a former Kennewick nurse somehow survived the deadly mudslide that wiped out a small community near Oso.

Amanda Lennick was still listed as missing Wednesday, five days after the massive slide rumbled through her rural neighborhood 55 miles northeast of Seattle.

Authorities say chances are slim that anyone else will be found alive, and rescuers may be forced to leave some of the dead buried beneath the mud.

"We love her, we miss her and we are praying to God that she is still out there," said one family member, who asked not to be identified. "No one really wants to talk about it. It's heartbreaking."

Lennick, 31, grew up in Kennewick and her family still lives in the Tri-Cities. Her parents could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Lennick had a party planned the night of the slide to celebrate the riverfront home she recently purchased. She told friends it was her dream house and reminded her of where her mom's family is from in Montana.

Lennick was just starting to get settled at her new house and was excited about the party, friends and family said.

The pictures Lennick shared with friends showed a breathtaking view from the patio of the house, which sat next to the Stillaguamish River and had view of the mountains.

"She couldn't have been more excited about her new home," said Andrea Wood, Lennick's former manager. "She wanted to be near nature. She was thrilled she could look out her door, see the river and be close to the mountains."

The Seattle Times reported three men were at Lennick's house the morning of the slide working to install a water heater and a satellite dish. Bill Welsh, an electrician, Stephen Neal, a plumber, and Steve Hadaway, a Dish Network employee, are among the missing.

The house was directly in the path of the square-mile slide that broke free from a nearby mountainside and flattened around 30 homes.

Snohomish County officials confirmed 16 bodies had been recovered as of Wednesday night, and at least 90 people are missing.

Family and friends tried to stay positive when they spoke to the Herald, pointing out that rescuers managed to find a dog, Buddy, alive and pull him out of the rubble.

Snohomish County officials confirmed 16 bodies had been recovered as of Wednesday night, and at least 90 people are missing.

"We are just holding out hope that her guardian angel is embracing her. We are praying," said Marykay Kreszenzia, a former co-worker. "We know how creative, inventive and strong she is. We know it is getting to be increasingly against all odds, but we are still wishing for her survival."

Lennick was an honor-roll student at Kennewick High School and part of the first class of nursing students to graduate from Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Lennick worked at Kadlec Regional Medical Center for two years before moving to Bellevue to work for the global health care company Healthways. She most recently worked as a nurse at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.

"She exemplified every kind of personality trait you would expect from a nurse," said Elizabeth Bennett, a former co-worker. "If I was ever in the hospital I would want her as my nurse. I have been a nurse for over 20 years and that's how much I think of her."

Friends say their main focus now is supporting each other and praying for Lennick's family, they said.

"Everyone is devastated. We have no answers," Lennick's family member said. "It's hard. Our thoughts and prayers are that she is alive."

-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; Twitter; @Ty_richardson

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