Tribal members bless Fr. Pat Twohy with new car

“Puyallup” means “the generous people,” and that’s exactly what they are. From left: Tribal Councilman James Rideout; Jim Young; Lauren Butler-Thomas; Frank Wright; Chairman Bill Sterud; Fr. Pat Twohy; Councilwoman Sylvia Miller; Councilman David Bean; and Eugena Buena-Douglas. Photo by Matt Nagle

The love that the Puyallup Tribe has for Father Pat Twohy reaches back decades, running deep in the hearts of all who know this kind and gentle Jesuit priest from St. Leo Catholic Church in Tacoma. As a way to give back to him a portion of the genuine care and concern Fr. Twohy has for all Native peoples, Puyallup tribal members presented him with a brand new Toyota Rav 4 to help him in his travels around Indian Country.

And the gift came just in time, as Fr. Twohy’s dependable old Toyota reached 313,000 miles on its odometer last month and just wasn’t safe anymore for him to drive.

“It’s totally overwhelming,” Fr. Twohy said on the day he drove his new ride to the Tribe’s Administration Building for everyone to see. “My heart is filled to the brim with gratitude big time. I try to be there for the folks as much as I can so this means everything to me. And I’m glad to have another Toyota!”

“For all the services that Father Twohy gives to us, we are doing a service for him,” said Puyallup Tribal Councilwoman Sylvia Miller. “All these families in need, he’s always been there for us. He’s a great man.”

It was a group effort to do this for Fr. Twohy and was in the works for about two years, going back to when members of the Tacoma Kateri Circle at St. Leo Parish were discussing how to bring other tribes into the gifting since Fr. Twohy ministers to many tribes in our area.

“But the Puyallup Tribe just picked it up and decided to take care of it,” said Puyallup tribal member Eugena Buena-Douglas, co-chair of the 2018 Tekakwitha Conference happening this coming July 18-22 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. “The one he has is a beater car and it just collapsed recently so that was the sign for us to get him a new one. He was beyond words when he found out about it.”

It was Puyallup tribal elders Jim Young and Frank Wright who brought the proposal to Tribal Council, as both men cherish their personal ties to Fr. Twohy.

“He’s my brother from another mother,” as Young put it. “In 1997 I had open heart surgery and I died in recovery but they took the jumper cables out and fired me up. A couple days later when I was alone in my room, I woke up and there was an angel standing next to my bed. He said, ‘Hello, Jim.’”

Fr. Twohy was at Young’s bedside, as he has been for so many countless others.

“He’s always been there for my family, for Frank (Wright’s) and for the Tribe and not just our tribe.”

Wright said he wanted to help in memory of his mom, the much-respected Puyallup tribal historian Judy Wright.

“My mom, before she died, emphasized that it is important that we always remember to take care of him so for me this is taking care of mom’s wishes,” Wright said. “We knew that Father Pat’s vehicle was getting old and I know how much he’s there for all of our tribal people, not just here but across the state. Now we’ll know he’s in a safe vehicle.”

Young gave a warm shout-out to Toyota of Puyallup for selling the car at cost, and for their overall great customer service. He, Wright and their fellow Puyallup tribal members Gary Young and David Bean will pick up the owing balance.

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