NWFRS has a happy birthday

Published on Thu, Jul 11, 2002 by Mikael Kenoyer

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NWFRS has a happy birthday

By Mikael Kenoyer

The North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services (NWFRS) board of directors, under a celebratory reader board proclaiming “Happy 1st Anniversary NWFRS,” held their annual general meeting July 8 in Lynden.
The board, composed of commissioners from districts 3 (Lynden), 5 (Point Roberts), and 13 (Blaine), unanimously approved funds totaling nearly $160,000, including July’s payroll. District 5 director Don Frantz said only, “I hope they’re worth it.” He turned good-naturedly to the firefighters in the audience and admonished them, “earn your keep, guys.”

Chief Michael Campbell then asked four men who had done just that to come forward. He read a letter of commendation to Lt. Keith Zylstra and firefighters Mike Hubby, Nick Seigman, and Craig Johnson, congratulating them on the quick resourcefulness and teamwork that saved a cardiac patient’s life May 6. “There is no greater measure of success than saving lives,” he added on a personal note, “thank you.”

Officer elections were hardly debated. While there was lighthearted talk of electing secretary of the board, district 13’s Bill Salter, president in retaliation for his absence from the meeting, Campbell’s proposal to keep the same officers in place was quickly accepted. “We should get as much experience on this board as we can,” he said. President Rich Bosman, of district 3, accepted.

“In my opinion, we’ve made substantial progress in our first six months of operation. We’ve been a very active group,” Campbell said. Among the successes he cited since NWFRS implementation in January, 2002 were the construction of the new Lynden station and planning in Blaine, recruiting, and training. He announced proudly that volunteers have attended 16,177 hours of training already, and that the number of firefighters continues to rise.

“We’re not there,” Campbell admitted, but praised the gains NWFRS had made. “We can’t forget that as slow as it seems we’re moving, we’re going at light speeds compared to other organizations. We are undergoing tremendous changes in a short period of time, and that means some people are frustrated.” Their efforts are paying off, he said, in rescue preparation and in monetary efficiency. “A lot of this work has to happen because we’re trying to free up tax dollars,” he said.

Campbell said future goals should include negotiations with other districts, as NWFRS is attempting with some Skagit County districts. He said, too, that better communication was needed between districts currently belonging to NWFRS. “I don’t care how many phones you have, pagers, e-mail. You have to see each other.”

As the meeting adjourned the board and audience celebrated a year of successes with strawberry shortcake.. ..


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