October 8, 2001
Overwhelming support for New York and Woodinville firefighters
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
At the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety station in Kingsgate, the American flag hangs at half-staff. A reader board below it declares: "In memory of our fallen brothers. Stand proud America." Colorful flowers in pots, some accompanied by thank you cards, line the sidewalk.
In an outpouring of gratitude, citizens in the community are paying tribute to the courageous firefighters who lost their lives on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center. They're leaving bouquets of roses and daisies and potted mums in front of local fire stations. They're giving cash donations as well as trekking to Woodinville firehouses with plates of cookies and box loads of Beanie Babies.
In addition, citizens are expressing in many different ways their support and appreciation of the dedicated men and women at Woodinville Fire and Life Safety.
"People have been stopping by the stations and thanking the firefighters for what they do," said Dave Leggett, public fire educator and information officer. "There are waves from passersby to acknowledge the recognition of their local fire dept. People have brought in baked goods. And people knock on the station's front door just to say hi. It's pretty cool."
To honor Woodinville firefighters, Brownie Troop #3273 has something special planned. Said troop leader Pam Balentine, "We decided to help the firemen in our area and tell them we appreciate what they do." Her troop of seven-year-olds looks forward to meeting the firefighters who serve their locality. Until then, they're keeping their plans a secret.
Children from Sorenson Early Childhood Center wanted to salute their local firefighters, so they created two U.S. flags out of construction paper and presented it to them.
Other children are doing what they can to help the families who lost family members in the World Trade Center tragedy. Several have sent letters to the firehouse headquarters in Woodinville. Leggett read from one: "My name is Katelynn. I'm 10-years-old. I'm in 5th grade and I'm giving all my favorite Beanie Babies to all the children who lost their parents in the plane crash. God bless America."
Three-year-old Michael Wold wanted to do his part after talking with his grandmother, Jan Wold, about firemen and what they do. Their discussion took place after the terrorist attacks and Michael had not been told of what had happened in New York. Still, Wold was surprised when her grandson explained what firemen do. "They help people when buildings fall down. They help people when they have fires." Wold thought it would be a good time to teach him about giving. "I told him that there are lots of people, firemen and kids who need help right now. I asked, 'Would you want to give money to the firemen?'" Michael answered, "Yeah, can we go right now?" He took all the money he'd saved in a piggy bank to the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety headquarters. Wold mentioned that there are other brave souls besides the firefighters who are in need of support. "It's not just the firefighters. It's the police and ironworkers giving sacrificially [in the recovery effort at ground zero]. They're risking their lives, their health and their mental health."
Cash donations sent to Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District, including Michael's, go toward helping the families of the fallen firefighters and police officers.