Every year, our Annual Meeting makes us thankful for our firefighters and other public employees. North Coast Credit Union began at the Bellingham Firehouse in 1939 (we're 82 this year!). Back then, we made loans out of a single cash drawer kept in a desk at the Firehouse and a deposit might be interrupted by the fire bell. We held our first Annual Meeting at the Bellingham Fire Department headquarters, now the location of the Syre Educational Building.
Public employees have always responded to our needs in the community and last year was no different. Our hearts are full of gratitude for our first responders from firefighters to the employees in the Public Health Department and many more.
The Public Health Department overcame countless challenges and worked around the clock (pulling 80-hour weeks) to respond to the pandemic. They became responsible for searching for PPE for hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities; creating a communication strategy to reach all sectors of the community; as well as managing the day-to-day needs arising from a large-scale outbreak.
Everyone from maternal and child health specialists to septic system inspectors took on new jobs overnight! The Senior Nutrition team ramped up to meet a 42% increase in Meals on Wheels meals and a team of Maternal and Child Health and Environmental Health staff stepped up to provide daily on-site and ongoing guidance to long-term care facilities to minimize outbreaks that can be highly dangerous in those settings.
Our law enforcement and firefighters faced a huge increase of calls during the quarantines and lock down. Tens of thousands of firefighters saved thousands of lives fighting the giant wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington from April all the way through December.
THANK YOU to all the public employees for your tireless support of our communities in Skagit and Whatcom county (and all around the nation). We know you will be there by our side, working to keep us safe, as we are all recovering together.