Under smoky skies, nearly 50 Whidbey Island residents, dignitaries, and fire department staff and volunteers gathered on August 20 to celebrate the groundbreaking at the site where the new Bayview station will be constructed. Although work had just begun, the machinery was quieted for a few moving words, as well as the moving of a few shovelfuls of dirt.

Representatives of neighboring organizations Good Cheer and Goosefoot were on hand, as well as Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson and former Fire Commissioner Mike Helland. Staff from Valdez Construction and Carletti Architects were also present. One of the newest volunteers with the department Jesse Jennings, was handed the golden shovel and the crowd applauded as he scooped up the dirt.

Fire Commission Chair Kenon Simmons thanked the crowd and spoke of the historic significance of the groundbreaking, as the new station has been in the department’s strategic plan for more than 10 years. All of the necessary funds have been in the bank for over one year, in anticipation of this day. The public may follow the progress of the project online at https://station36project.swfe.org/