Pine Grove News: Wy'east firefighters celebrate another year of service

By DEBRA LARAWAY

Pine Grove correspondent

Hello! I am finally springing forward and trying to get things done!

The Wy’East Fire District (Pine Grove Fire Department and Odell Fire Department) Wives Appreciation and Awards dinner was held Feb. 15, at the Best Western Hood River Inn in the Gorge Room. It happened to fall on my birthday as it sometimes does, so I got to go to dinner with many friends and neighbors!

Thanks to John Stehlik and the entertainment committee for the great meal, and combining of our two fire departments for this awards dinner. As always a thank-you to Hood River Inn for the tasty prime rib; Tammy Hall Floral for the table decorations; and Ryan Willis for setting up the venue at the Gorge Room.

Chief Greg Borton began the evening with asking Fire Chaplain Rick Whittaker for an invocation before our meal. Our department president, John Stehlik, began with a welcome and introduction of the present officers for the department. Chief Borton introduced guests Tom Hatch (state arson investigator) and his wife, Denise, who happened to be in Hood River investigating the Diamond bin fire.

Present board members for Pine Grove are Eric Cederstram, with his guest, Tammy Hall; Dan Sheppard and his wife, Cindy; Leonard Wood and his wife, Janet; Rob Graves, Rod Hastings and Chuck Weseman. Greg spoke about two charter members, Arne Udelius and Cliff Whitten, for Odell.

We also took a moment to give honor to Ed Lage, who passed away last year, and we also remember Tony Medearis, and Pine Grove Charter fire department member Bill Laraway. Honorary members were Zella Laraway, Kent Lambert, Larry and Dianne Hayes, Jesse and Kathy Rice, Janet and Leonard Wood. It was also nice to see Maxine Long, as Everett Long was a longtime member of our department and passed away several years ago. Greg stated that the department has 310 service years of time for active members.

Greg introduced his officers for 2014 assistant chiefs: Jim Wells, Bill Baskins, Dwight Moe; captains: Lee Lage, Joe Long, Joey Sheirbon, safety Jon Laraway; lieutenants: John Stehlik, Tiffany Peterson, Randy Mix, Jeremy Cervantes.

Pine Grove Service Awards: five-year, Brent Goe; 15-year, Temo Rivera; 20-year, Dick Reed; 25-year, Lou Gehrig; 40-year, Steve Bickford; 45-year, Dale Byers.

Odell Service Awards: five-year, Shane Back; 10-year, Crystal Akin Bruce; 15-year, Randy Mix, Robert Riggleman; 25-year, Bill Baskins, Dean Kinne and Steve Smith; 30-year, Dwight Moe.

We as wives and community members and neighbors say thank you to all our fire department members for all their years of commitment to Hood River.


Always LAST and to keep things in perspective is the Pine Grove Hot Line Award and Odell’s Order of the Oar for 2014. Randy Mix spoke of Odell mishaps and Lou Gehrig of Pine Grove mishaps. A honorary mention goes to Steve Cushman for his fit test, Randy Mix for his driving, Dale Byers for the Hyster, Ryan Dethman and Kevin Long for Fir Mountain Road, with awards going to Shane Back for Odell Order of the Oar and Chief Greg Borton for the HotLine Award. Both winners gave a brief version of why they did not deserve the awards!

A special thank you to Brent Goe for his informative history video presentation of Wy’East Fire Department members on local fires and calls. A visual of what goes on at calls, training and membership. Also a special thank-you to Leta Riggleman and Crystal Akin Bruce for all of the wives and guests receiving the table decorations and local gift cards from area businesses. That was a pleasant surprise!

I also want to wish from all of us congratulations and much happiness to Pete Cushman and Sara Benton who were heading to Cancun, Mexico, for their wedding!

I have enjoyed the Hood River News’ past Slice of Life on people in their 80s so I thought I better get this photograph in the paper along with mention of our lovely and enduring health of the following ladies for their past and recent celebrations of their 90th birthdays and some are already onto the next year. Left to right in the photo are Ora Jane Cantrell, Dorothy Mellenthin, Marge Magnuson, Dot (Dorothy) Swyers, and Zella Laraway, who is 91 going on to 92 in August. They all look so good I hope to hold up as well! Here’s to more birthdays and future good health.

Next to last on my catch-up list is mention of Chuck and Kristi Thomsen’s daughter Mallory’s upcoming wedding on July 19. That will be a special day in many ways because it is also the date Chuck and Kristi got married 33 years ago, and the wedding ceremony will be held at the same location as their wedding, the front lawn of their house. Chuck’s grandmother Daisy Thomsen lived there when they were married.

Now Chuck will have many reminders of his anniversary date along with the future groom, Kevin.

Finally. thank-you all for your past 50 years of support and contributions to the Pine Grove Fire Department’s annual auction. The weather was not great but the turnout and support were.

Do you have news of the Pine Grove community? Call Debra Laraway at 541-386-3318.

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