Irene Bullock has been a hero and has championed the cause of preparedness and emergency response for most of the 30 years she lived on Whidbey Island.
Thursday, March 21, she was among the honorees at the American Red Cross Islands Chapter Real Heroes Breakfast hosted by Andy Wappler at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge in Anacortes.
Bullock was described as a person who has shown her concern for the safety and preparedness of Whidbey Island residents through the years, and was therefore recognized with the Red Cross Real Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bullock was a first responder firefighter and EMT for Whidbey’s Fire District 3 for 12 years until her retirement in 2011. She still teaches CPR/AED classes for the fire district and volunteers to do so for her Langley church congregation where she works part-time.
In 2007 she became part of the Langley Community Emergency Shelter team to develop a local, independently-run emergency shelter in Langley. Working with churches and the city of Langley, the result after 18 months of planning was three warming shelters and increased awareness in the community of the need for emergency planning and preparation. She taught classes as part of the effort, and is a strong proponent of the Map Your Neighborhood program of Homeland Security/FEMA.
Bullock was often called to respond to serious incidents in Langley because of her proximity. She was first on the scene at a horrific car accident in 2006 that killed two teenagers. In 2008, she worked with other EMTs to bring a scuba diver back to life.
Bullock has won the Star of Life Award from South Whidbey Fire/EMS at least twice (2008 and 2009). In 2008 she was also named a Hometown Hero in the South Whidbey Record, along with her fire district training supervisor.
Bullock joins the fire department in advising individuals to take serious preparation for a disaster She recommends people to “take classes offered locally. Buy flashlights, food and water. Have an emergency kit and first aid kit at home and in your car. Call the fire department, CERT, Red Cross or one of the local disaster preparedness teams for information or get involved.”
The Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross is always looking for “Real Heroes” from the community. Do you know someone who performed life-saving CPR, pulled a person from a burning building or took action in a time of crisis? The annual Real Heroes Breakfast is an opportunity for you and the community to show appreciation and thank these exceptional individuals.
Call 360-293-2911 or email MaryFrances.Close@redcross.org . Online donations to Islands Chapter may be made at www.redcross.org.