To the community of Plain/Lake Wenatchee

Over the last few weeks I have been listening and watching a small group of people argue over the fire district’s proposal to purchase some land next to Beaver Valley School in Plain. Yesterday I viewed a comment from an unknown resident near Hill street that frankly made me sick.
“It's evident by their actions that LWFR is operating out of resentment towards the very community they claim to serve. It's honestly frightening to think that these are the people we are supposed to call in case of an emergency. I, for one, certainly wouldn't feel safe inviting any of those people into my home.”
I have been a resident of this community my entire life and have never felt so betrayed and insulted by someone that simply has a disagreement with something that in my mind and many other’s minds is a progressive and positive thing for all the people of this community full time or not. I have been providing emergency services to this community for 16 years and have always done so with honesty and professionalism. I have worked alongside many other volunteers and career staff with LWFR, Chelan Sheriff and Cascade ambulance that have always put the needs of the public before themselves and there has never been a question about the integrity of their actions and service to this valley.
The recent campaign started by Don Bottoms and several of his neighbors has now become much more than a common disagreement with planned use for public land (that happens to be within visual range of their homes). This has become a public smear campaign that is determined to classify 32 volunteer firefighters, the Fire Chief and their selfless dedication to the taxpayers as something that is malicious or with an agenda different than providing high quality and professional fire and emergency medical services to this community.
I am a full supporter of any planned expansion of the district’s facilities. I have seen how our community is growing and our district is becoming busier (including an ever-growing threat to wildfire). Recently comments have been made by this same group that larger facilities are not needed and there are other locations that could serve the same purpose. However, this is not true, the Plain location for a fire station is the most centrally located place to best serve all parts of the community (this is my personal opinion based on 20 years in emergency services) It allows the Lake Wenatchee based Ambulance to quickly respond to all sides of the fire district. It is the only centrally located piece of land that could possibly be purchased to save the taxpayers money and provide for multiple options of facility design and accommodations to neighbors to relieve any visual or noise concerns. We have outgrown our current Plain Fire station, and in five to ten years we will desperately need a larger space for fire apparatus and things like public refuge space during a wildfire or natural disaster. Our current facilities are already struggling to meet our needs and we must plan now for when it becomes an issue that effects the safety of the firefighters and the community.    
I remember the countless lives this fire department and its volunteers have helped or saved over the last 16 years and I can tell you that these small people that live near or on Hill Street that are determined to undermine and efforts the fire district will eventually fade and they will be overwhelmed with the actual support we have for our fire district in this community. I hope these people including Don Bottoms never have to call for our help if a wildfire is threatening their home, or their loved one is having a heart attack but if they do I will respond and I will give them the service that I provide every day in the same professional and quality manner regardless of their horrible accusations and hate.
Michael B Stanford
Lake Wenatchee

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