Top 'o the morn
July 3, 2008 · Updated 1:25 PM
"Since we were small, we have heard tales about Santa Claus; but we didnt know that Santa himself would come to see us, from Oak Harbors Fire Department and EMTs. We never realized that Santa himself was a volunteer firefighter but his Ho, ho, ho sounded real and his flowing white whiskers enveloped us in a hug. Accompanying him was a brown Teddy bear wearing a fire chiefs red hat. Teddy now sits by our side with a sky full of red balloons. Oak Harbors Fire Department has always been an important part of our life. Mel, the genial host of many years, was a volunteer firefighter for many years, as well as our Jim who lived across the street. We can see and hear it yet ... Two firemen in their regalia, running full tilt toward the Fire Station (then located across from City Hall), and the siren screaming its message to the men who risked their lives to see that their town didnt burn down. Oak Harbors first big fire took place many years ago when a spark from a blacksmiths anvil ignited a store and hotel, the pier and small shops. Following that debacle, a fire house was installed on Pioneer Way over the slough that ran the length of town. Old timers who recall the early days remember how Oak Harbors dock burned, how the IOOF Hall went down in ashes and here and there a family was left destitute. Soon a fire truck became a bit of town excitement. Today, kids can take a ride around Oak Harbor in a really truly fire truck on picnic day the fire departments annual salmon barbecue for firemen and their families which is an outstanding event. With the town of Oak Harbor in dire financial need, we as taxpayers must say that three needs must get a yes vote: schools, fire department and police department. There are many other needs in this town, but the top three are basic community must haves. So for the new year, we are hoping for our top three must haves receive adequate funding. See ya at the salmon barbecue in August. And maybe then there will be a place on a fire truck for kids to experience part of a firemans life be it am or pm, tooling through the streets, sirens screaming. And when the sirens sound, hope the community realizes that our Fire Department is an integral and indispensable part of living here, on an island in Puget Sound. "