Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ferry workers honored by Gov. Inslee

Celebrating our ferry heroes


By Nicola Zanchi

Most passengers aboard our ferries would never guess the person loading their car can also fight fires and save lives, but it's true. Every crewmember is trained in first aid/CPR and firefighting and while we hope our passengers never find themselves in a scary situation, if they do, we have highly trained employees to assist. In fact, in 2016 our crew and staff provided emergency aid and assistance in 116 events.
Crew members practice firefighting skills during a routine training drill.
Some of these incidents are particularly serious. When workers respond to those emergencies, we recognize them with the Life Ring award, a top honor bestowed by the ferry system. The award goes to those who directly contribute to saving lives and in 2016, 18 of our employees received the honor for stepping up in a time of need.

On Feb.17, Gov. Inslee heard from our Life Ring awardees and presented them with a "Washingtonian of the day" certificate. Employees shared with Inslee lifesaving stories ranging from rescuing kayakers to performing CPR on passengers to evacuating an unconscious crewmember via lifeboat to shore. On shore, our terminal employees coordinate emergency logistics and assist passengers who become ill before boarding. This is the first year that terminal employees were recognized for their actions alongside crewmembers.

Sara Newton, one of the first ferry terminal attendants to receive a Life Ring award, shares her
life-saving story with Gov. Inslee. Life Rings were only awarded to vessel crew until 2016.
In each case, our employees acted quickly and put their training to good use. And while most of our award recipients say their actions are just part of their job, we also know they are pretty remarkable actions.

Our workers who received a 2016 Life Ring award are:
Paula Abel, Lee Burris, Vera Crocker, Leonard Delong, Patrick Eakes, Charles Leahey, James Lesh, John Lohrey, John McMillen, Joel Michelson, Marsha Morse, Sara Newton, James O'Neill, Pamela Peckham, Ronald Pence, Mark Savio, Brad Sloman, and Gregory Smith.

Fourteen of our 18 Life Ring award recipients gathered with Secretary of Transportation, Roger Millar (far left)
and Assistant Secretary of Washington State Ferries, Amy Scarton (far right) in Gov. Inslee's office.
We are so proud of our crews for what they do each day to keep passengers safe and it was a great honor for them to be recognized by the governor. The next time you're on a ferry, be sure to say thank you to the crew!