Bellingham Police honor 5-year-old as Chief for a Day


Lt. Bob Vander Yacht of the Bellingham Police Department shares this report of 5-year-old Brandon Leathers being honored as the 2014 Bellingham Police "Chief For A Day."

"Bellingham resident Brandon Leathers is a 5-year-old with a mission to be a 'good cop!' Brandon, who turned 5 years old in April, recently was given a liver transplant related to a rare form of congenital fibrosis. Since this surgery Brandon is doing well and keeping up with all of the things that active 5 year olds do.

"Because of Brandon's interest in law enforcement he has been selected to be our Chief For A Day, which is a program developed by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. The actual Chief For a Day celebration is on Aug. 21.

"Brandon got the good news about being our chief in February. Brandon visited the police department with his family and was welcomed aboard with a standing ovation from over 30 officers that made a special trip to be at this welcome aboard event.

"In partnership with local law enforcement agencies and the communities of Washington State, Chief For A Day is about celebrating the lives of children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening or chronic illness.

"This year 34 law enforcement agencies, including the Bellingham Police Department, will sponsor a child to participate in this event.

"Each law enforcement agency will provide their honorary chief or sheriff with a hand-tailored uniform and a gift basket which will include items for the child and their family such as toys, movie passes, gas cards, various gift cards, and much more. This year's chiefs and sheriffs range in age from 3 to 14 years old.

"The children and their families will be transported in police cars led by a police motorcycle escort. The motorcade will travel from the ShoWare Center in Kent to the police academy in Burien.

"The sponsored children will be sworn in as chiefs and sheriffs, have lunch with all attendees and academy recruits, and then participate in outside presentations provided by law enforcement agencies and criminal justice entities including K-9 units, bicycle patrols, SWAT and more."

The Aug. 21 event is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Burien police academy. For more information, go to


Bellingham Beer Week Chairman Aubrey Laurence reports that the Oso landslide fundraiser on May 2 at Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen was a huge success:

"Thanks to our local breweries (Chuckanut, Kulshan, Boundary Bay, Wander, Aslan, and North Fork), more than 60 generous donors and businesses, local bands (Nuages, Moongrass, and Hot Damn Scandal), and the event organizers, volunteers and attendees, we were able to raise $15,155 for the Red Cross Oso Mudslide Relief Fund in support of the families affected by this tragedy. It is truly amazing what we can accomplish as a community when we all work together. Thank you to everyone who helped with this event."


John Lieberherr, chairman of the Whatcom County Search and Rescue Council sent in this good news:

"For the fourth year in a row, a Whatcom County Search and Rescue member has been recognized by the Washington State Search and Rescue Volunteer Advisory Council.

"On May 10 rescue member Steve Paddock received the Washington State 2014 Adult Achievement Award. This award recognizes adults who have shown a strong commitment to a county search-and-rescue program and who have shown outstanding search and rescue skills, abilities, and thorough knowledge of search-and-rescue concepts and methodology. They must have been involved in a county search-and-rescue program for at least four years (Steve started in 1985), and must have shown continuous growth and skill development of search-and-rescue techniques and methods. Also, they need to have developed other associated search and rescue skills and abilities - Steve also is certified as a Community Emergency Response Team member.

"Summit to Sound SAR, like all county search-and-rescue organizations, is a 100 percent volunteer, 100 percent self-funded organization. Volunteers supply their own personal equipment, pay for their training, and hold fundraisers to purchase unit equipment. Summit to Sound and is the most diverse unit in Whatcom County consisting of multiple specialty groups: a swiftwater group, a dog group, a ground group, a horse group, an EMS group, and an ATV group. Some members carry other rescue credentials, such as EMT, low angle rescue, confined space rescue, and more. When needed, SAR units are activated by the Sheriff's Office under a state mission number. County SAR units respond to missions in Whatcom County, to mutual aid calls in Washington State, and have responded to mutual aid requests in British Columbia, Canada."

The group meets at 7:30 p.m. every third Tuesday at the search-and-rescue building, 1041 W. Smith Road. All are welcome to attend and see what SAR is about.


Edradine Hovde writes that the Pickett House Museum was honored to have Wayne E. Motts, chief executive officer of the National Civil War Military Museum in Harrisburg, Penn., and his father, Warren Motts, executive director of the Motts Military Museum in Groveport, Ohio, tour the 158-year-old structure May 23.

Greeting them along with Edradine, who is president of Whatcom Chapter, No. 5, Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington, were friends and supporters of the Pickett House Museum including Roger and Helen Granger, Virginia Roberts and Ted Perry.

Edradine says, "for more than 30 years, Ted Perry has been a valuable supporter of the Pickett House Museum with his wife, June. Virginia Roberts was invited to bring her Civil War Military drum to show the two museum directors and they were very impressed with its excellent condition as well as the history of how it arrived in Whatcom County. Wade H. Beach, the first post master on Lummi Island traded it for food at the Marietta store. Wade was a drummer with his father, a recruiting officer, Lt. Zenos Beach of Company F, Eighth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Old Abe the War Eagle was the 8th Wisconsin's mascot and both 1861 and an eagle are painted on the drum."

At the National Civil War Military Museum, Wayne Motts oversees 65,000 square feet of Civil War displays. One room is dedicated to General George E. Pickett's personal and military items, including papers issued when he was a student at the United States Military Academy, 1842-1846, and the documentation papers showing his promotions as he progressed through the ranks during his professional military career. General Pickett's kepi, or officer's hat, is featured in the center of the room with lights highlighting the special braid signifying his rank of general during the Civil War. Photographs of the display are included at the Pickett House Museum in Bellingham.

The Pickett House Museum is open for tours to the public the second Sunday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m.


The Bellingham branch of the American Association of University Women has presented 2014 Tech Trek scholarships to Tessa Kilcline and Emily Newcomer of Kulshan Middle School and Bianca Squillante ofShuksan Middle School. Julie McCarty, Kulshan Middle School, is the alternate. Tech Trek, a week-long science, technology, engineering and mathematics camp, will be held at Paci?c Lutheran University in July. It was designed to encourage and empower young women going into eighth grade to consider careers as scientists, engineers, computer specialists and mathematicians.


Here's the report from the April 19 12th annual Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament, which raised $10,000 for the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center:

"Thirty-two teams of 4 from across the northwest competed in the largest bocce tournament in the region.

"A returning team of dedicated bocce enthusiasts, Bocce Dawgs, took this year's championship. After a heated championship game, second place was awarded to Eastside Rollaz a team sponsored by Pet Stop, third and fourth places went to team Joe and Cora's U-Cut and Boccemon respectively.

"Over 100 spectators cheered on their favorite teams while enjoying this annual celebration. There was plenty to do for spectators if there was a bye for their favorite team, including: a salmon BBQ lunch sponsored by Vis Seafood and Trident Seafood, a Boundary Bay beer garden, music from Sunset DJ, and raffle drawings. Free, open to the public, and family-friendly, the event featured a kid's area with bounce houses, arts and crafts, and face painting."

Sponsors included Unity Group, Boundary Bay, Barkley Company, Kulshan Brewing Co., Birch Equipment.


-- Bellingham schools Superintendent Greg Baker was awarded the Washington School Public Relations Association's Crystal Apple Award May 2 in "recognition of his commitment to inclusive and transparent communications and The Bellingham Promise."

-- HonorWorks board member Kathy Dorr has been chosen to present at the 2014 Annual Conference of the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in November. She and HonorWorks spokesperson Swil Kanim created the Honoring Our Heritage social studies curriculum used by Whatcom County school district and supported by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant. It examines issues of discrimination, stereotyping and cultural perspectives between the diverse populations that make up our community.

-- The Society for Human Resource Management has awarded the Mount Baker Society for Human Resource Management Chapter the Excel Gold Award for 2013 in recognition of the chapter's accomplishments and strategic activities and initiatives that promote the human resources profession at the local level.

Out and About is published Mondays in The Bellingham Herald.

Reach Executive Editor Julie Shirley at 360-715-2261 or .

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service