I received my pin for 20 years of service at the Annual Awards Celebration for Orcas Island Fire and Rescue on Jan. 18th. I am the last one still serving from my class (pictured above–can you spot me???).

I was so surprised; I would have never guessed that I would become an EMT, as I am not drawn to the drama or trauma. I am not a fan of bodily fluids anywhere but fully contained in the body as they were meant to be.

But when I was approached by Wanda Evans so many years ago, she made it clear that if we were going to live on a remote island with limited medical resources, we needed a functional volunteer corps to meet our needs.  She and Phyllis Stone had covered the East-side as EMT’s for many years and they were ready to hand off the responsibility.  She thought I was a good candidate and recommended me to Dave Zoeller, the paramedic who taught the program. I interviewed and reluctantly accepted once I was given the nod.  Lance Evans and Amy Cole also joined in and together we became the next East-side Team.

Now, 20 years later, Amy and Lance have retired, Dean Dougherty and Tony Simpson have stepped up and the East-side continues to have good coverage. I have been on over 900 calls.  Helping others in their time of need is a remarkable experience that has changed my life for the better in so many ways. I am grateful to be able to serve.

When we give, we gain. We feel more connected to the community and we make a difference in the lives of those around us. How lucky we are to be able to help.

I am grateful for all you do for this island.