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South Whidbey Fire/EMS volunteers honored | KUDOS
Volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians were honored by South Whidbey Fire/EMS at the annual awards dinner March 8, at Useless Bay Golf and County Club.
“South Whidbey has a lot of nonprofits and volunteers, probably more per capita than most parts of the state. But your contribution is truly extraordinary,” said Commissioner Helen Price Johnson during the dinner, according to a news release. “I am humbled by your commitment. We are grateful for your dedication and for the sacrifices you and your families are making each and every day for our community.”
Ken Starkweather, a volunteer at the Freeland Station since 2000, earned three awards: the Paramedic Choice Award, Star of Life and the Carl Simmons Officers’ Choice Award.
Commissioner Kenon Simmons presented the Carl Simmons Officers’ Choice Award, named after his father.
“Most people may only call 9-1-1 once or twice in their lives, but when they do it is a very big deal,” said Simmons in the news release. “In that moment those thousands of hours of training make all the difference in the world. You need to know what you do matters. You are a very big deal.”
Anne Collins won the Fire Fighter of the Year along with Most Inspirational. Collins has volunteered since 2012 at Maxwelton Station.
Two volunteers shared the EMT of the Year, Kyle Graeser and Robbie Husom. Marine Rescue of the Year went to Robert Frey. The Fire Prevention/Public Education award went to Jon Beck.
Individual stations handed out awards for Firefighters of the Year. Winners included Eldon Baker from Freeland Station #31, Brent Davison from Clinton Station #32, Anne Collins from Maxwelton Station #33, William Piepenbrink from Langley Station #34, Marc Swenson from Saratoga Station #35, and Tom Gideon from Bayview Station #36.
Awards for training competitions went to Bayview Station #36 for the Poker Run, and Clinton Station #32 for both the water ball and hose evolution drills.
Certificates for years of service were also awarded to Jeff Parker for 25 years, Jerry Beck for 20 years, Chris Blasko for 15 years, Jon Beck and Brandon Callahan for 10 years. Five-year awards were given to Kevin Rookstool, Bryce Bebee, Kim Boenish and Dareld Chittim.
Since 1950, the fire district has provided fire suppression, emergency medical service, marine, and rope rescue to residents and visitors. In 2013, volunteers responded to over 2,000 calls, setting a new record for emergency service.