Duncan Howat, manager of Mt. Baker Ski Area, recently became the 74th recipient of the National Ski Patrol's Honorary National Appointment award, according to a press release.
The National Ski Patrol, an international organization of 28,000 members, aims to provide safe recreational experiences for outdoor enthusiasts and provide outdoor emergency care to the sick and injured.
Occasionally, the 75-year-old patrol pays special tribute to a nonmember who has made a significant contribution to the organization by awarding the Honorary National Appointment.
Kent Nelson, Mt. Baker Ski Patrol director, nominated Duncan, with assistance from volunteer patrol members Dennis Larson, Jim Weldon and Krister Fast.
Kent, a second-generation Mt. Baker patrol director, wrote in his nomination: "Duncan Howat has been the area manager at Mt. Baker Ski Area for 42 years. He has been the principal force in the conception, design and construction of six new chairlifts and two new lodges at Mt. Baker. Moreover, he has been a principal and longtime force in support of the National Ski Patrol and has an extensive history of working for the betterment of the volunteer patrol. Duncan has enabled the Mt. Baker volunteer patrol to host countless training sessions for members of other ski patrols and has offered discount lift tickets and hospitality at many ski patrol events."
The release goes on to say:
"Duncan is a strong sponsor of the concept of a community-based volunteer ski patrol and strives to link the community and patrollers. In addition to running the day to day operations at the mountain, he can often be found on the hill working with patrollers or watching training sessions. He implemented a small team approach so that volunteer patrollers would share common duty schedules, which has greatly enhanced team building and camaraderie. At the same time, he has recognized that patrollers have family responsibilities and time constraints; to that end he has set reasonable limits for on-hill duty shift requirements for patrollers.
"Mr. Howat has promoted a strong sense of teamwork among all employees, especially in those situations involving search and rescue and trauma. He has required all area management and senior employees to be trained in the National Ski Patrol's 120-hour outdoor emergency care course, which has resulted in an organized cooperative response to first aid and rescue situations. Duncan Howat has personally been involved in over 100 out-of-area search-and-rescue operations."
Duncan is a member of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association board of directors and is past chairman of its Washington Zone. He is one of only seven recipients, since 1957, of the organization's Mel Torgenson Lifetime Achievement Award.
GIVE THE GIFT OF EDUCATION
Here's a nice idea for a present that requires no dusting and has no calories.
Whatcom Community College suggests that you give the gift of a Community Education class to someone on your holiday list. Their press release promises the winter schedule offers new classes and longstanding favorites.
It goes on to say: "It's easy to gift wrap a class. Simply register a friend or family member in the class of your choice, and let the Community Education staff know it's a gift. They'll prepare a festive gift certificate that can be sent by you for giving, or mailed directly to the recipient. Gift classes may be transferred to another class of equal or lesser value any time before the class start date on the certificate.
"Choose from experiences such as the Feb. 22 Gardeners' Road Trip to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, or the March 16 Artist Road Trip to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit at Seattle Center. Inspire the writer on your list by enrolling them in one of many outstanding writing courses.
"Foodies will appreciate cooking classes that teach skills such as how to make soft cheese or tempting winter soups, among other delicious topics. Help someone stick to New Year's resolutions with the gift of a Fitness and Well Being class such as yoga, Pilates or WCC's new Zumba Fitness class."
For information, go to whatcomcommunityed.com or call 360-383-3200 for a gift certificate.
VOLUNTEERS SPRUCE UP VFW POST
Christopher Brown gathered more than 30 volunteers Dec. 1 at the VFW Post 1585 on North State Street to clean up the building inside and out. They painted a previously unused space upstairs that they plan to turn into a veterans lounge.
He said the most impressive outcome of the project was what the outdoor crew was able to accomplish: "They were weeding everywhere, scraping moss, pressure-washing siding and gutters, weed whacking, hedge trimming, and cleaning out trash from under stairs, hedges and corners of the building. All of the yard waste was loaded into the back of a truck and ended up weighing a total of 1,340 pounds!"
Christopher is a recent Western Washington University graduate and a post-9/11 combat veteran. He has been active in the veteran community since moving to Bellingham in 2008 and currently serves on the Whatcom County Veterans Advisory Board.
Christopher hopes to attract some of the 300 to 500 local post-9/11 veterans studying at the three local colleges to the VFW space, where they can do homework, hold meetings or just hang out.
He says the VFW post is in dire need of younger veterans' involvement, and hopes the new space will start to attract the younger generation of veterans.
The project was organized by Christopher as part of his fellowship with a national organization, The Mission Continues, which provides post-9/11 veterans opportunities to continue their service at home. His fellowship has been with a local nonprofit, Growing Washington, that works to harness the skills and leadership of post-9/11 veterans and to improve communities through sustainable agriculture.
According to its website, The Mission Continues awards community service fellowships to post-9/11 veterans, empowering them to transform their lives by serving others and their communities. Mission Continues fellows serve six months at a local nonprofit addressing educational, environmental or social issues. Each fellow works to achieve one of three outcomes at the conclusion of their fellowship: full-time employment, pursuit of higher education, or a permanent role of service.
Christopher is looking for donations to install carpet in the new space at the VFW. He already has furniture lined up.
For details, contact him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/christopher.brown.50159.
SECRETARY OF STATE RECOGNIZES DYRLAND AGENCY
Bellingham's Erik Dyrland Agency, representatives for Farmers Insurance, has been named by Washington's Secretary of State Sam Reed as an "exceptional Washington Business that makes helping the community a priority," according to a press release.
Dyrland Agency received honorable mention in the small companies' category for employees' involvement throughout Whatcom County. Among the 16 groups the agency supports are Ski to Sea, Whatcom Hospice, Boys and Girls Clubs, local food banks, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Cancer Center and March of Dimes.
Erik was invited to a reception at the Secretary of State's office in Olympia to be recognized with the other award recipients.
Reach JULIE SHIRLEY at email@example.com or call 715-2261.