Meet Your Volunteer Firefighter

Posted May 20, 2016 at 5:45 am by

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Albert Olson - Contributed Photo

Sheila Harley, Pub­lic Infor­ma­tion Offi­cer of San Juan Island Fire/Rescue shares this mon­th’s vol­un­teer firefighter…

Albert Olson, Ten­der Operator/Engineer

To pro­tect life and property

Albert and his wife, Kris, own and oper­ate Krys­tal Acres alpaca farm on Blaz­ing Tree Rd off West Val­ley Rd.

He is also a Ten­der Operator/Engineer assigned to Sta­tion 36 ( Eagle Crest) where he has served for 6 years. Pre­vi­ous­ly he was assigned to Sta­tion 34 (Sun­set Point). Albert retired from actu­al­ly fight­ing fires when he turned 65. Ten­der Operator/Engineer is a posi­tion that was devel­oped so that fire­fight­ers who have served as fire­fight­er and are past retire­ment age can still par­tic­i­pate. They are qual­i­fied to dri­ve and oper­ate the water truck and a fire engine dur­ing a fire. This allows the fire­fight­ers to fight fires rather than wor­ry­ing if they will have enough water to do so.

Albert was born and raised in a farm­ing fam­i­ly on Fir Island, Wash­ing­ton which is bound­ed by the North and South forks of the Skag­it Riv­er. His fam­i­ly were dairy and crop farm­ers. He attend­ed Mt. Ver­non High School, attend­ed busi­ness school in Seat­tle for a year, then went to work for Pacif­ic Nation­al Bank in Seat­tle. He met and mar­ried his wife Kris 1965. Since he was a farm boy at heart, he and Kris moved back to the coun­try to Camano Island and pur­chased a Napa Auto Parts store in Stan­wood, WA. He sold the store in 2002. After that he set­tled on San Juan Island permanently.

Albert start­ed vol­un­teer­ing for the San Juan Island Fire & Res­cue in 1997 at sta­tion 34 (Sun­set Point). Although he was not yet a full time res­i­dent of the Island, Albert was able to ful­fill his duties as a fire­fight­er on a part-time basis. He was appoint­ed to the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers of the Fire Depart­ment in 1998 on which he is still serv­ing after 18 years.

One of Albert’s goals in life was to get the new sta­tion on Mullis street built because once that was com­plet­ed, he hoped that the Town Fire Depart­ment and the Dis­trict Fire Depart­ment would then be able to com­bine and be under one com­mand. The new sta­tion was built in 2000 and that hope was accomplished.

Albert says, “After retire­ment what would I have been doing if not vol­un­teer­ing with the fire depart­ment? I have been doing it so long! I think I am very knowl­edge­able, I get along with all the fire­fight­ers, they know that they can come to me and I will fol­low through. I love to serve the pub­lic. I’ve been on a fair amount of fire calls and bad acci­dent assists. Peo­ple have lost their homes and I have helped pick up the pieces. The fire depart­ment is a group of peo­ple of all dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties and from dif­fer­ent walks of life. It is inter­est­ing to be around them and work with them.”

San Juan Island Fire & Res­cue wel­comes all inter­est­ed men and women ages 16 years and above to drop by the Mullis Street Sta­tion and make an appoint­ment to see what we are all about. Look online at www.sjifire.org for lots of good infor­ma­tion. Or, you could view our Face­book page: San Juan Island Fire & Res­cue. Our phone  is (360) 378‑5334. We would be pleased to talk with you.

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