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SKFR welcomes new firefighters, paramedics

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Lieutenants Chad Stanley and Rick Christenson help train 13 newly hired firefighters and paramedics. - Justine Frederiksen/Staff Photo
South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Lieutenants Chad Stanley and Rick Christenson help train 13 newly hired firefighters and paramedics.
— image credit: Justine Frederiksen/Staff Photo

Thirteen new faces joined the ranks of South Kitsap Fire and Rescue this month, following the fire department’s successful bid to renew its Emergency Medical Services levy.

“We’re starting to get busy, but it’s the kind of busy we like,” SKFR Chief Wayne Senter said at the last meeting of the SKFR board of commissioners.

Last week, the new hires — 11 firefighter EMTs and two paramedics — were still finishing their two-week orientation, which SKFR Deputy Chief Steve Wright said consisted largely of introducing them to the community.

“They learn all the specifics, like where all our fire stations are and the hospitals,” Wright said.

The firefighters also learn SKFR procedures, and will be watched carefully to determine who should attend the fire academy in September.

“At this point, it looks like about half will be going,” Wright said.

After the orientation, Wright said the new firefighters will be on probation for a full year.

Two of the hires are women, including one who was a Seattle Police officer, and five are South Kitsap High School graduates.

All thirteen are listed below:

• Don Chapman: Raised in Spokane and graduated from the University of Washington in 1998. Began working with the King County Fire District in 2000, then attended medic school in San Jose, Calif. Since returning to the Northwest, he has been working for Rural Metro Ambulance in Tacoma.

• Sean Collins: Comes from Teton Valley, Idaho, where he was a firefighter/EMT. He served there as a volunteer and career firefighter for nearly four years.

• Timothy Ellis: Born and raised in Pennsylvania, he moved to Washington in 1995 and became a volunteer firefighter with Riverside Fire and Rescue. He moved to Port Orchard two years ago.

• Scott Gammill: Grew up in Port Orchard and graduated from South Kitsap High School. Graduated from Central Washington University and moved back to South Kitsap, where he started a landscaping business and became a volunteer firefighter with SKFR. He began working for the Key Peninsula Fire Department before being hired by SKFR.

• Tyler Hoskins: Raised in South Kitsap and graduated from South Kitsap High School in 2005. He began volunteering for SKFR in 2005 and attended Bates Fire Academy.

• Robert Jones: Graduated from South Kitsap High School in 2000. He was an Explorer with SKFR, then enrolled in the firefighter-in-training program at Olympic College. Was working for Olympic Ambulance and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital before joining SKFR.

• Aaron Kipperberg: Born in Everett, he moved to Olalla when he was 17 and wrestled for South Kitsap High School. He worked at PSNS before attending Southwestern Oregon Community College, and recently worked as a plumber in Gig Harbor and on oil wells in North Dakota.

• Matt McCoy: Has worked as a firefighter/EMT for Kootenai County in Idaho for the past seven years, and was recently the ALS training coordinator and field training officer.

• Amina Saleh: Born and raised in Seattle and graduated from Nathan Hale High School in 2004 and later attended the University of Washington. Has competed in Flatwater Sprint Canoe and Kayak since childhood, and was coaching the youth sprint team at the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club.

• Allison Suhr: Grew up in Seattle and became a Seattle Police Department officer in 2006, but soon realized she really wanted to be a firefighter instead. While applying for firefighter positions, she worked as a 911 dispatcher for the SPD.

• Mitchell Thorsen: Grew up in Poulsbo and graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 2004. Before joining SKFR, he was working for Olympic Ambulance.

• Nicholas Wetz: Grew up in Spanaway, joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school. He served on the USS Camden and the USS Abraham Lincoln. He entered the fire academy at Everett Community College and completed his bachelor’s degree in 2008. He still serves in the Navy Reserves.

• Jacob Yount: Graduated from South Kitsap High School in 2005 and played basketball all three years. He attended Olympic College, was an intern firefighter with SKFR, and worked framing houses.

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