Sheriff parking requested Lions Health screening Fire Dept. doesn’t get it

Dear Mr. Souder:

I deeply regret your misperception that abuse of power is occurring at the Lopez Ferry Terminal. As terminal agent, I requested that the deputy park the Sheriff’s car in the lower lot of the terminal. The presence of the vehicle indicates that a Peace Officer is in the vicinity, which has its benefits. We have found that it aids us when dealing with situations that could become unpleasant. Although you don’t reside full time on Lopez, you’ve come and gone for years. You must be familiar with the people who work the dock and I’m surprised that you didn’t talk to a terminal employee before writing your letter to the Editor of the Sounder.

I’m also surprised that you would think that the terminal staff would not address any abuse of power that might occur at the terminal. I will apologize to the Sheriff and the deputy for having put them in a position that caused them unjustified embarrassment. I can only hope that the Sheriff will understand that sometimes people make unsubstantiated accusations without knowing the facts and that he will continue to assist us in keeping order at Lopez.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the individuals who contributed their time and effort to make the Lions Health Screening on April 7 and 8 possible – over 144.5 man-hours went into this project!

I would like to thank the following Lions for their help during the two day event:

Martin Arnold, Jim Biddick, Dick Boberg (both days), Bill Buchan, Merry Bush, Larry Garvin, Kyle Hall, Melissa Halwax (eight hours), Pam Harney, Karen Hiller and Toby Hiller (entire run), Mike Jonas, Susan and Dave Kosiur, Paul Losleben, Dave McPeake, Kay Miller, Kim Rose, Veronica San Martin, Mac Trunkey , Carol Vincent-Hall and Don Webster (both days) – the Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight and Hearing and Health Screening Unit crew, Lions Mike and Pat Parker.

I want to give a special thanks to the Orcas Island Fire Department, particularly Paramedic Dave Zoeller. I would like to convey my thanks to the Sounder for getting the message about our event out to the public, if the community doesn’t find out about us, all our efforts are in vain. To Island Market and the surrounding businesses where the van parks for two days. To the Eastsound Landmark Inn, always so generous with accommodations for the Parkers.

Last, but most importantly, I would like to thank the community who participated in the event; 117 persons turned out and made our efforts worthwhile. For those of you who discovered potential health problems, I hope you follow-up with the appropriate care – if we can help just one person prevent an emergency or improve their health status, it was all worth the effort! If you missed this year’s screening, look for us next year. In the meantime we encourage you to visit an Island medical facility or a physician of your choice for a check up soon.

Thanks all – It couldn’t have been done without your help.

After the public raised their voices recently to protest the rampant squandering of money by the Orcas Fire Department Chief and Commissioner, some changes took place. However, in the long run, “arrogance” prevails. One commissioner keeps talking about the money left on the “table” and charging for paramedic runs (which have always been free as the paramedic’s are on duty at station 21, 24 hours a day). This commissioner hints that this subject – even though the public at the meetings have objected to it – will be brought up again. Most folks at the meetings have felt that many of our residents would be unwilling to call when they have an emergency if they felt that there might be a charge.

At the same time, the commissioners unanimously approved $3,500 to send a fire fighter to California to attend an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class. This class just finished being taught here on Orcas. One of the highly trained and most respected full time department personnel was attending this class. This fire fighter “does it all” for the department and Orcas Island. Due to a major personal family situation this fire fighter was not able to complete the course. This person has been a credit to the department for 23 plus years, without being an EMT. Why does the Chief think that without this training immediately this fire fighter will be ineffective?

Or is there just no regard as to how our money is spent? The justification is that if this fire fighter as an EMT saves just one life, it is worth any amount of money. This is a pretty good justification, considering the average age of the Orcas Island full time residents (me included). However, does this mean that anyone who cannot complete an EMT class should be sent to California for the training?

I think not.

What it means is that if you want this Fire Chief to spend your money in a prudent manner, you must become involved with the Department meetings, along with all the other meetings that you attend.