A District 7 way of life Larry Hoffman sees community service as a natural fit of firefighters By Mark Reimers firstname.lastname@example.org
FERNDALE — When people talk about volunteering firefighters, they are usually referring to the men and women who take extra time out of their busy lives to fight fires on the side. It’s more than that for many members of Whatcom County Fire District 7, however. At least that’s what assistant chief Larry Hoffman sees when he looks at the ranks
Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, October 2, 2013| Ferndale Record of career and volunteer firefighters. You see, Hoffman himself has become known as a compulsive volunteer in the Ferndale community. That’s why it surprised no one in August when Hoffman said yes to organizers with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. When asked to “post bail” at a lockup event at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, Hoffman set a goal and outraised everyone else in Whatcom County. “You can say no, but I took it on,” Hoffman said. “It seemed like something I could honestly call and ask money for. It was a great cause and it was an interesting time in ‘jail.’” Hoffman said his success at the fundraiser was really due to the many responsive people in the community. The MDA event was just one effort in a long line of things that have marked Hoffman’s schedule over the years. At one point, he served on the board of the Ferndale Boys & Girls Club. Today, he is neckdeep into volunteering with the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve lived in the Ferndale community all my life,” Hoffman said. “I believe this community has made me who I am to this
day. I look for ways to give back to it.” Volunteering didn’t always mean the same thing for Hoffman, who began firefighting as a volunteer before getting hired in 1989. He’s definitely happy that he has a little down time now to stay involved. For local athletes, past and present, Hoffman is known as Coach Hoffman, as he has spent the better part of 30 years working in youth sports. Hoffman began his coaching duties immediately after graduating from Ferndale High School in 1979. First he worked in hockey in Bellingham before moving on to baseball. That coaching career started before Hoffman was raising a family. So when he suddenly had a wife and kids, he also had a new reason to keep coaching his kids’ teams. His next coaching job was six years with Ferndale High School baseball. But when fellow Ferndale coach Sean Linville went to Blaine High School, he asked Hoffman to come on as his assistant. “I put in my hours, but there’s always someone watching (the station) when I’m out coaching or working with the chamber,” Hoffman said. “At times, it seems like
Local Firefighters I’m constantly on the move. But I’ve always said if I ever slow down I’ll start acting my age.” Hoffman doesn’t see his community involvement as a solitary thing, noting that many local firefighters try to be responsive to their own community needs. A great example, Hoffman said, is former Lieutenant Mark Kuhl, who spearheaded fundraising for the veterans memorial in Griffintown Park. Those funds were raised primarily through the District 7 Firefighters Association and Ferndale Volunteer Firefighters Association. But the giving mentality has also been helped by the relatively high number of local personnel who stick around to serve in their own community. Getting local kids interested in firefighting has been a goal and success story of the District 7 Cadet program, which now gives kids a chance to explore and volunteer. Some of them go on to get jobs in fire service. Regardless, having a crew where some are lifetime community members or 30year volunteers helps make District 7 feel like a real hometown group, Hoffman said.
FERNDALE — Whatcom County Fire District 7 offers several services for locals, including: Free American Heart Association “Heartsaver” CPR classes CPR classes are offered every second Saturday of the month. Call 384-0303 for more information about the Heartsaver class or achieving a certified AHA Heartsavers card. Monthly fire station tours Would your classroom like to visit local firefighters and paramedics at their stations? District 7 offers station tours that highlight fire preparation and safety, special firefighting equipment and tools, CPR, first aid, and on-hand tours of aid and fire trucks. Call 384-0303 during business hours to schedule a tour. Monthly blood pressure checks Once a month, District 7 personnel visit the Ferndale Senior Activity Center in Pioneer Park to offer free blood pressure checks. On-the-spot free blood pressure checks are always offered at any manned stations. Larry Hoffman began volunteer firefighting soon after finishing high school. He began his full-time career in 1989.