VANCOUVER -- Washington State Governor Jay Inslee quoted a 4th grader from Vancouver in his 2014 “State of the State” speech.
The governor toured Crestline Elementary’s temporary school after its building burned to the ground last February.
When the governor asked how everyone was doing, Payton Rush raised his hand. The governor retold the story in his speech.
“One student, fourth-grader Payton Rush, told me he and his mother made a sign that became that community’s rallying cry. It says: 'We can do hard things,'” Governor Inslee said.
Then he encouraged the legislature to work together on the hard things waiting for them in their legislative session.
The sign came to life during the chaos and turmoil of relocating to the temporary school after a fire.
Payton’s dad, Colin, said the experience was devastating.
“Absolutely. We all cried. We all hugged each other a lot. It was terrible,” said Colin Rush.
The Rush family thought about what phrase would encourage the community to work through the disaster. Payton and his mom came up with the phrase, “We can do hard things,” and made several signs which proclaimed that.
Soon, the signs were hung in many temporary classrooms. Colin believes it helped everyone cope.
“They cried together as a class then they said, 'Okay, together we can do hard things. We need each other, we need the community, we need hope more than ourselves and so we can do hard things in that,'” he said.
It’s the sort of message capable of inspiring even a governor.