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Life Support grants Crystal Campbell...

Life Support grants Crystal Campbell of Fire District 7 its highest annual award

by Erik Pague

Crystal Campbell
LIFE SUPPORT AWARD WINNER Crystal Campbell (at right) is all smiles for a picture with her proud parents Vicky and Randy Campbell during the 2017 Life Support Concert and Auction at Swiftwater Cellars Saturday, July 15.
N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Erik Pague photo - 2017

UPPER COUNTY – The 2017 Life Support Concert and Auction took place at Swiftwater Cellars Saturday, July 15 and to kick things off at the event, Life Support founder and president Cheri Marusa invited members of Kittitas County Fire District 7 onstage for the announcement that longtime volunteer Crystal Campbell would receive the Life Support Award.

“Each year, Life Support recognizes a volunteer who goes above and beyond in their response and in their teamwork for our community,” Marusa said.

District 7 chief Jay Wiseman and assistant chief Ray Risdon joined Marusa onstage where Risdon praised one of the most active members in their district. “Crystal Campbell has been with us since 2009 and up to today, she’s responded to 1,200 runs,” he said.

Risdon noted that may not seem like much compared to a department with paid employees, but reminded everyone that Campbell has been taking all these calls out of her own time – a major sacrifice that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Campbell recently finished her tests to become a paramedic and only has the national exam left to pass. That will come on top of her role as the district’s EMS program administrator.

“I’m leaning on her more and more and I’m throwing more stuff on her plate because I see her in the future in the management of EMS in the upper county and I’m sure Chief Wiseman probably shares those thoughts with me,” Risdon said.

Campbell also won Co- Firefighter of the Year, as voted by her peers, in the District 7 banquet in March. Campbell said after the Life Support event that she never expected to get into the firefighting and EMS fields but quickly fell in love and it seems her colleagues love all the hard work and dedication she has shown.

“People in the department have mentored me and guided me, and that has created a path to where I am now,” the Los Angeles native said. “After moving around a few times, we ended up in Cle Elum. I will never leave this area. It has become my family. I love seeing everyone join together to help others out in their time of need. My contribution is the EMS side of things. People have their strengths and weaknesses. Mine is EMS. This community has helped to build who I am.”

She does agree with Risdon’s prediction that she will become a bigger part of the EMS system in the community but knows there’s always more knowledge to gain.

“I always strive to learn more or something new and I have found something that I am not only good at but also enjoy doing,” she said. “To be a part of the District 7 future will involve many things but I am looking forward to the challenge as well as being a small piece of that puzzle. There are so many people involved in this department and it takes everyone working together towards a common goal to make it work. My coworkers, co-volunteers, and the members of this community all understand the importance of what we do so finding the common goal is simple.”

Award Ceremony
KITTITAS COUNTY FIRE District 7 volunteer Crystal Campbell receives an award from Life Support founder and president Cheri Marusa during the organization’s annual benefit auction at Swiftwater Cellars Saturday, July 15. Joining them onstage are District 7 chief Jay Wiseman and assistant chief Ray Risdon.
N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Erik Pague photo - 2017

Other speakers, awards and an announcement
Marusa acknowledged several sponsors and long time supporters, including Swiftwater Cellars owners Don and Lori Watts, as well as the Medic One Foundation, which she said helped get Life Support up and running in 1999.

Marusa was also happy to announce Microsoft and Amazon became involved with the organization for the first time this year. “We’re very, very excited to have their support,” she said.

Another speaker was University of Washington lead researcher, cardiologist and Life Support board member Dr. Mark Reisman. “When you look at things like cardiac arrest and when people go down in the field, all the data suggests that there’s really one crucial piece onto survival – for people to get to the hospital and ultimately be discharged successfully – and that’s really based on the first responders,” he said. “It’s so critical that first responders are welltrained, they get there quickly and they know what to do. All the outcome data that we understand basically states that if they get there quickly, that they’re able to manage the patient … (doctors) are able to then really get good outcomes. So, the effort that we’re making here is really critical to make sure our emergency medical staff is really a top notch staff.”

Marusa also acknowledged a local volunteer with District 6 and 7 named David Sharp, who was on an airplane flight one night heading back to Seattle and reportedly intervened in a cardiac arrest to save a life. Riesman and another District 7 volunteer, Tony Ditsworth, accepted the award on behalf of Sharp.

“Not only do our volunteers respond here, you just never know when they’re going to be on an airplane with you, as well,” Marusa said.

COUNTRYFIED PERFORMS at the 2017 Life Support Concert and Auction with volunteer members of Kittitas County Fire District 7 onstage at Swiftwater Cellars Saturday, July 15.
N.K.C. TRIBUNE/Erik Pague photo - 2017

About Life Support
This was the 17th annual Life Support Dinner Auction, which fundraises to support emergency medical services in the community. Life Support’s mission is to eliminate unnecessary death and suffering for the members, visitors and travelers of Upper Kittitas County. It does so by securing funding to pay for equipment and training, forming collaborations and more.

The 2017 auction collected $150,000 that will benefit District 7, as well as Cle Elum Fire Department, Ronald Fire Department, Roslyn Fire Department, Fire District 3-Easton, Fire District 1-Thorp, Kittitas County Search and Rescue and more, according to lifesupporti90. org.