Disasters can come in big and small packages

We now have a disaster center right here in island city at Mullis!

We now have a disaster center right here in island city at Mullis!

It was gratifying to attend the dedication of our new generator at the Mullis Community Senior Center Thursday by Glenn Kaufman, chairman, and board members of the San Juan Senior Advisory Committee.

We will be ready to provide comfort for victims from the next winter storm (like the one that blew down a million trees in the county some 19 years ago) or the dry spell forest fire that could do much more damage on this island of trees.

And, of course, if there were a mainland disaster, we could be of vital help to victims and/or troops who might be involved.

“What we now have is a Generac, 100-kilowatt, three-phase, 208/120 volt, 69-cycle generator, powered by a V-10 engine of 167 horsepower, 68 liter displacement, that produces 347 amps at 2300 rpm,” advisory committee treasurer Ed Carlberg said.

He should know. It was Carlberg, who, in conjunction with OPALCO, did the engineering, selected the equipment and contractors, wrote the contracts and signed the checks.

The cost was $45,880, of which $40,000 came from the Whittier Family’s Confidence Foundation, $2,000 from the San Juan Island Community Foundation, $1,000 from Ron and Liz Keeshan and the balance from the Mullis Center’s saving accounts. Contractors were Guard Electric and San Juan Propane.

Doris Estabrooks was a member who prompted the current senior advisory committee to resurrect this plan, which failed to resolve the idea a few years ago.

Georgia Baciu and Jan Osborn wrote the grant applications. Arlin Rothauge, of the local Red Cross chapter, and Brendan Cowan, director of the town and county Department of Emergency Management, lent encouragement to Kaufman and his determined team to get this done.

Carlberg demonstrated the generator’s operation before Sheriff Bill Cumming, advisory committee members, Brian Brown and Seanene Kennedy (operators of neighboring Village at the Harbour, which abuts the state-of-the-art generator) and Mullis Center staffers.

Curt Van Hyning, director of Senior Services, invited all of the principles to the regular overflow crowd at the Thursday luncheon at Mullis, where they were introduced.

A disaster can happen at any time. Mount St. Helens demonstrated that, as have fires as well as tsunamis along the coast. Most of our disasters are one-car accidents on the island. We are lucky we don’t have the high-speed highways here. Even so, drunken driving kills!

It’s nice to know that we have citizens looking at the big picture. Try watching fireworks, rather than setting them off where you live in a potential bonfire of the conifers.

Take it easy … tome lo suave!

— Contact Howard Schonberger at 378-5696 or hschonberger@sanjuanjournal.com