Pine Grove News: Wy’East Fire District honors volunteers

Hello to everyone. I have had kind of a hiatus from writing my column due to life changes. Not that kind! The kind that has occurred from changing what information people want reported and what there is to report that concerns our community.

While the Pine Grove Fire District and the Odell Fire District combined four and a half years ago, each fire house had continued to hold their own monthly business meetings and fundraising activities. As of now forward, both fire department memberships are combined as one membership to complete the consolidation, the Wy’East Volunteer Fire & EMS Association. Business meetings will alternate between the two fire stations. The new business officers are President Dwight Moe, Vice-President John Stehlik, Secretary Chrystal Akin-Bruce and Treasurer Jon Laraway.

I will still report on items that might occur to the fire district buildings, but all is done for the district. Before we combined departments, a new 20-by-40-foot storage building was built at the Pine Grove Fire station behind the auction office in the back. The building will allow for larger fire department items and equipment to be stored there, freeing room in the truck bay areas. Generous donations over the years and combined with a donation in memory of Eddie Lage allowed the building to be built. Soon a new plaque will be installed on the building to honor Lage.


CHIEF Greg “Watch Me Fly” Borton, in a file photo.

On Saturday, Jan. 16, the volunteers served about 400 people at their fourth annual crab and oyster feed. As the Hood River News reported, it was quite successful as a fundraising event. It also is a great time to see many neighbors and friends in the area. Thank you to everyone who set-up, served, prepared the food, took tickets, bussed the tables and made everyone feel welcome. Thank you to all who attend the event — we are grateful for your support.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, our Wy’ East Volunteer Fire Association had its annual Appreciation and Awards dinner at the Hood River Inn Gorge Room. As I attended this event, I would like to personally thank Ryan Willis, along with the whole department, for all the arrangements at the Gorge Room, and The Hood River Inn Gorge Room staff for their wonderful food service and wait service that night. The food was excellent.

Dwight Moe, President of the Association, welcomed everyone and made introductions of honorary members and special guests. Dwight also thanked Leta and Robert Riggleman, who always get such nice food gift door prizes and flowers for all the women in attendance to receive. Crystal Bruce did our invitations, Tammy Hall supplied the flower arrangements for Leta to give out. Gary Willis gave the invocation before we began dinner.

After dinner, Dwight introduced the new volunteer member Emmitt Jackson. Our student members are Gil Evangalista, Alex Ortiz and Tayler Lage. It is so nice to see the young men volunteering and committing to our district. We have all watched Tayler grow up in the Pine Grove station over the years and he is third generation volunteer after his dad, Lee Lage, and grandfather, Eddie Lage. Welcome!

Fire Chief Greg Borton introduced our current board members Eric Cederstam, Chuck Weseman, Rob Graves, Gary Willis and Dick Reed. Our District fire officers are Asst. Chiefs Jim Wells, Bill Baskins, and Dwight Moe. Captains are Joey Sheirbon, Jon Laraway (Safety Officer), Ryan Willis, Lee Lage. Lieutenants are John Stehlik, Tiffany Peterson, and Jeremy Cervantes. Safety Officer is Teddy Pounders, and Chaplain Rick Walker.

Greg gave out two membership pins. One to Ryan Willis for 25 years of service and one to Chuck Thomsen for 35 years. Chuck was not there, but his wife, Kristi, received his pin. She told us she will keep the pin for keeping Chuck for 35 years! We love you, Chuck! The EMS provider of the year for 2015 went to Lt. John Stehlik and Fire fighter of the year 2015 went top Chrystal Akin-Bruce. Congratulations! We also spoke of Charter Member Arne Udelius, who recently passed away. Part of the fire districts’ awards are Silver Baby Cups to our newest members of the families. A cup went to David and Meagan Rummel for their daughter, Aven Bell Rummel, and Fernando and Ashley Murillo for their daughter, Ava Rose Murillo. Ava was present with her parents and seemed to enjoy being held by various members. She was a great baby and slept through most of the events.

The final business for the evening was the fun awards the Hot Line and Order of the Oar. Steve Bickford and Dwight Moe gave us past events for the year of various mishaps in the department but it appears we have a first time double award winner ever: Chief Greg Borton! He now has the name of Watch Me Fly Borton and Chief S.O.B. — Son of a Borton. It isn’t as bad as it sounds but be sure and congratulate Greg for his winning both awards.

Contact Deb Laraway at 541-386-3318 if you have news about the Pine Grove community.

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