If there’s anything more seasonally appropriate at this time of year than a heart-warming story, it’s a story that warms both heart and home. The Winthrop FireFighters Association (WFFA) facilitated exactly such a story recently – two of them, in fact – when they delivered a cord of split wood to two local families.
In collaboration with Room One, which identifies households in need of heating assistance, the WFFA rallied as many as 15 firefighters throughout the summer and fall to go out and cut and split wood, which they then transported to a staging area at Dick and Karen Evans’ house. Some of the wood came from up the Eight Mile area, while more was sourced from around the valley where people were taking trees down as part of firewise efforts, says Karen Mulcahy, who was part of the wood cutting parties. “There’s a lot of extra wood in the valley right now, due to firewise measures,” Karen says.
“We delivered a cord of split wood to a family in Methow,” says WFFA member Rick Rottman, “and then there was still so much left over that Winthrop station Captain John Owen asked Room One to identify another family that might benefit from it.” The WFFA took a second cord of wood to a Twisp family that was, reportedly, “very appreciative” of the gesture.
“This is very much a group effort,” Rick says. “Jim Cahill moved wood with his excavator and lent his dump trailer for the deliveries. Most of the firefighters have their own chainsaws that they used, and someone else has a wood splitter. Everyone pitched in.”
Rick goes on to describe one WFFA member, Bruce Hevly, who is a Methow-based history professor at the University of Washington. “Bruce would come help with the wood for a couple days each week before he had to run back to Seattle to teach,” Rick says. “He gave quite a bit of his precious Methow time to this effort.” Bruce’s gift of time and energy, says Rick, is indicative of the overall approach of the whole WFFA team.
“WFFA and Room One intend to continue and possibly enlarge their efforts next year,” says WFFA member and woodcutter Dick Evans, who has for the past five years coordinated a WFFA donation of wood to the Kiwanis Bite of the Methow auction, to benefit a Room One-designated family.
The Winthrop FireFighters Association was formed in 2006 when the Town of Winthrop disbanded its 60-plus-year-old fire department and contracted with Okanogan County Fire District 6. The WFFA was formed “to carry on the heritage and traditions of the Winthrop station as an integral part of Okanogan County Fire District and the communities it serves.” Clearly, with a Methow Valley legacy of neighbors reaching out to help other neighbors in need, the WFFA’s firewood delivery is one of the warmest ways to uphold the heritage and tradition of Methow Valley goodwill.