Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friend and Firefighter... Chief Dan Packer

This is Sunday and I just learned that a very good friend and a very good person, Dan Packer, has died. Chief Packer led East Pierce Fire and Rescue. He was in large part responsible for its creation.

But, when a friend dies you focus on other things. You remember the times you talked and the times you worked together.

In May, our family called Dan in hopes of having a gathering at the Bonney Lake firehouse to view the televised (one week delay) Atlanta Olympic Women's Weightlifting Trials. He was so gracious and so happy to be of help. He came to the event and stayed for the entire broadcast. He was so proud of Melanie.

Earlier this month when the "Today Show" came to Bonney Lake he worked with Mayor Neil Johnson to welcome the television crew. Melanie road to the grandstand with Dan's department honking their unmistakable firetruck horns. On the side of the firetruck was a huge banner: "Firefighters Support Melanie." He always went the extra mile.

As the president of the Wa State Fire Chiefs Association, Dan was also a lobbyist. He was a man of great compassion. Over a period of a year, two college age girls had died at Lake Tapps. They drown as victims of asphyxia. One was "teak surfing," and the other was just holding on to the transome of a boat while it was idling at a dock. Dan came to my office in Olympia as a leader among his peers. By the end of session the bill we worked on was signed into law. My name was on the legislation, but the bill was Dan Packer's. I will miss working with him.

Thank you for your service and for your friendship. You will be remembered by many and missed by me and my family. God bless your family during this very difficult time.