From left, Fire Chief Mike Brown, North Whidbey Lions President Jack Peebles, past-president Bonnie LaForest and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Kirko discuss their new partnership Wednesday at the VFW. North Whidbey Lions gave North Whidbey Fire and Rescue $10,000 to kick off its legacy project. Photo by Daniel Warn/Whidbey News-Times

Lions give fire department $10,000

When Fire Chief Mike Brown and Deputy Fire Chief Mark Kirko left the VFW in Oak Harbor last Wednesday, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue was $10,000 richer.

That’s because North Whidbey Lions Club “adopted” North Whidbey Fire and Rescue as its legacy project in conjunction with Lions Club International’s centennial celebration.

“I do want to thank (North Whidbey Lions Club) so very much for this partnership, because like you know, all volunteer organizations run on limited budgets … and this will be a great help,” Brown said as he and Kirko accepted the check from Jack Peebles, North Whidbey Lions president.

“We do run on volunteers — just like your organization, a volunteer organization — and they work very hard doing an incredible job,” Brown said. “This helps them do their jobs better.”

This time of year, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue is responding to six to seven calls each day under summer’s scorching heat, according to Brown.

To put things in perspective, he said, back in the 1970s, fire and rescue responded to four or five calls per month, “so things have changed incredibly in the last 30 or 40 years here.”

The fledgling partnership between North Whidbey Lions and North Whidbey Fire and Rescue is intended to help firefighters save more lives in the coming years, said North Whidbey Lion Orson Christensen.

In other words, the $10,000 that was contributed to the fire district last week is only the beginning.

“In the foreseeable future, the North Whidbey Lions will look for ways to help the North Whidbey Fire and Rescue carry out their responsibilities.” Christensen said in a written statement. “The current donation is designed to be used for fire fighting equipment that will enhance the quality of service in fighting fires on North Whidbey Island.”

A formal presentation of the check and a display of the equipment purchased from it will be featured at the North Whidbey Lions 32nd Annual Car Show on Saturday, Aug. 12 at Windjammer Park in downtown Oak Harbor.

North Whidbey Lions meet at 11:30 a.m. the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at the VFW post on Goldie Road. For information on North Whidbey Lions and its projects, call Christensen at 360-678-3072, e-mail him at doc98239@outlook.com or log on to http://e-clubhouse.org/sites/northwhidbey/