Tonto Basin residents put aside worries about the creek rising during yet another storm and took the time to say thank-you for the safe crossings of the past and those to come.
Residents of the communities along Tonto Creek gathered at Butcher Hook for a celebration Feb. 19. They offered thanks to George Allen Ewing for the many emergency crossings he has made since 1970 in the "Old G.I" -- a 1943 2-ton, ammunition carrier, and to the Mazatzal Casino and Tonto Apache Tribe for helping with the purchase of a newer, safer vehicle, a 1967 Kaiser 5-ton 6-by-6.
"We used to channel this creek until the bureaucrats got involved," said Mitch Vuksanovich, owner of Butcher Hook. "Everyone could cross. They (federal officials) decided you couldn't move any dirt out of the creek and now the creek goes where it wants to."
"We are always asked why we do this. Someone has to do it," said Ewing as he accepted the thanks of his neighbors. "We have the knowledge and we were coming this way anyway, so we felt we might as well help our neighbors.
"You never do it expecting something in return, you do it for how it makes you feel."