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Friday Harbor Town Councilwoman Carrie Brooks taken off island by medevac helicopter; undergoing tests at St. Joseph Hospital

Friday Harbor Town Councilwoman Carrie Brooks ... undergoing tests at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham. - Journal file
Friday Harbor Town Councilwoman Carrie Brooks ... undergoing tests at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.
— image credit: Journal file

Friday Harbor Town Councilwoman Carrie Brooks was taken off island by medevac helicopter Monday after she "very faint" at work at Islanders Bank.

Pastor Archie Brooks, her husband, said she was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham where doctors are doing tests. She is comfortable and slept well Monday night. She will stay Tuesday night at St. Joseph and is expected to be released in time for her final council meeting Thursday; she resigned June 17 on the advice of her doctor.

"She's doing fine," Pastor Brooks said. "The doctors are running her through a whole battery of tests to determine what happened."

Pastor Brooks said his wife felt "very faint" about 9:30 a.m. Monday. "It was something she didn't recognize as being normal. We took her to the medical clinic and they weren't comfortable with the tests they did. Without taking chances, they sent her to St. Joseph's. It's more preventive than anything else. They've been checking her for just about everything they can think of."

Pastor Brooks said this was the first time his wife had ever been taken off the island by medical flight.

After joining the council in 2000, Councilwoman Brooks told of being hypoglycemic, however, that didn't seem to slow her involvement. She rarely missed meetings. In fact, last winter, under doctor's orders to rest vocal chords damaged in a prolonged coughing spell, she attended meetings and passed her comments on paper to another council member to read aloud for her.

During three terms in office, she has served on several council committees and served as mayor pro tem in the mayor's absence. She currently chairs the town Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

She is serving her third four-year term — her current term expires Dec. 31, 2011 — and is the senior member of the council. She is assistant vice president and loan officer at Islanders Bank in Friday Harbor.

Pastor Brooks said his wife intends to be at her final council meeting Thursday. "She'll bring the doctors with her if she has to," he said.

Town Clerk Amy Taylor said Brooks will be feted at the meeting. She will receive a plaque, and cake will be served.

Mayor Carrie Lacher was shocked to learn Tuesday about Brooks' hospitalization. "I sincerely hope she's OK. Wow," she said upon hearing the news.

"I wish her all the best. Our thoughts and prayers are with her."

Lacher said Brooks has contributed dignity, respect and heart to the council.

"One of the great things about her is she's respectful of the process and respectful of people's roles. She brings a sense of dignity to council proceedings and that's real important when you're dealing with contentious issues. She's a great role model for newer elected officials. She has a big heart and really cares about people, and that shows. Now, she has institutional memory we're going to lose."

As a legislator, Brooks has been an advocate for some innovative ideas, among them a "no net loss" tree policy that was first proposed by then-Councilwoman Hedda King in 2001. Brooks was the only other council supporter; the policy would have required that a tree be planted within the town limits to replace any tree cut down.

She's continually questioned why alcohol is sold at public events, and was the sole vote against the Rotary Club's permit to sell alcohol at its Rock the Dock event on the Fourth of July.

"She's continually challenged the council and the public to think, 'Why is fun connected with alcohol?,'" Lacher said.

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