Submitted by the Town of Friday Harbor
Mayor Carrie Lacher of the Town of Friday Harbor presented a plaque thanking and honoring the air and ground crews of the Search And Rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island at the Friday Harbor Airport during an evening ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19. Over the last several years Whidbey SAR has flown many heroic missions to San Juan Island to aid those in life-threatening condition and deliver them to hospitals on the mainland.
“San Juan Island has been very fortunate to be able to call upon the brave and reliable members of Search and Rescue to provide service in our time of need,” said Mayor Lacher.
Those attending the presentation included members of Peace Island Medical Center, the Port of Friday Harbor, the Town of Friday Harbor and Island Air Ambulance. Mayor Lacher thanked the team members assembled at the special gathering for saving many lives while operating in the most dangerous of conditions. The SAR representatives included members of the flight crew, medical personnel and the ground crew that keep their helicopter in top condition. Dr. Michael Sullivan of Peace Island spoke of the special relationship with the SAR team and related his personal appreciation for knowing that they had his back in the worst situations.
The text of the plaque read:
“The Town of Friday Harbor honors the men and women of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Search and Rescue Unit for their selfless dedication and unparalleled professionalism in serving our residents in times of trial and trouble. The Navy is our dependable friend. Thank you from Friday Harbor and San Juan County.”
While San Juan Island is ably served by both fixed wing and helicopter medical evacuation services through Island Air Ambulance and Airlift Northwest, there are times when inclement weather conditions do not allow for safe flight and transport of patients.
Mayor Lacher asked the community to express its thanks for all of the lives they have saved when we needed them most. Special thanks goes to Stuart Hansen from the Port of Friday Harbor Airport for making arrangements for the ceremony.