Tim King Salem-News.com
Mike Kondash, better known as 'Tattoo', at a stoplight with friends. Salem-News.com photo by Bonnie King
(SALEM, Ore.) - If I don't write about it now, I'm sure nobody in Oregon will ever hear the story of a small group of bikers saving a lady from certain disaster a couple of weekends ago at an Oregon rest stop.
She told Mike and his friends that she needed help, that she was supposed to meet a man who had escaped from prison. She asked for their assistance in sorting out provision she had purchased for him. Sure enough, when Mike and the others walked with the woman to her car, there were a number of camping items, survival gear; all things that had recently been purchase
She also had a pile of money for the supposed "escaped prisoner" (Mike says the woman was well dressed and did not look like someone who would aid an escaped convict) and it was laying on the picnic table, which had been unattended until the bikers walked over to them.
Where Kondash spends most of his time; he runs Salem Tattoo
At this point, Mike felt concerned for the woman's safety. It was clear that she was extremely vulnerable and not necessarily in control of her actions. He used his cell phone to call 911 and advise them that the woman was in a state that seemed very unusual and he suggested that the fire department come to the location to check on the woman and help figure out what was actually going on.
round this point, a person associated with the state park arrived to see what was going on. Mike explained that fire had been called and were on their way. It was either a blessing or fantastic coincidence, but the park representative happened to know that one of the campers was a psychiatrist, and asked Mike and everyone to hold on. Speeding off in a golf cart, the park employee returned quickly with a genuine shrink, who by further coincidence, specialized in cases of this nature.
The psychiatrist initiated what would turn out to be a half hour conversation with the woman. Rather than sending a fire or medical unit, the dispatch center sent an Oregon State Police trooper to the scene. Kondash explained to the trooper that a professional doctor was talking to the woman, and the trooper then joined the bikers and the camp representative in watching with genuine interest as the doctor got to the bottom of what was going on, and that was that the woman was missing and her family was actively searching for her.
Exactly who she is we don't know, it is not as important as the point of this story. We as a society need to not judge books by their covers. I'm glad it was Mike Kondash and members of the Gypsy Joker club who the woman approached, many people would have taken her money, taken advantage, but instead she approached men who protected her, and were rewarded by watching a complex human problem unfold in front of their eyes.
Kondash says they were pretty blown away; it was a mind boggling experience. When it was all over, he appreciated the way the state trooper treated the situation, and he marveled at the chance that a psychiatrist happened to be so close and accessible.
After Mike and his friends walked back over to where their bikes were, another state park employee approached him to tell him his motorcycle was parked improperly, by about one foot, and that he had to move it "right now". Mike looked at the person and told them he wouldn't do it, and that if they had a problem, there was a state cop nearby they could tell. For some reason that OSP trooper never came back over.
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 91 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom©salem-news.com