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Newspaper Archive of
The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
November 4, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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November 4, 2009
 

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS SECTION WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 47 2009 Louden Ivey, a Youth Center volunteer eighth-grader from Issaquah Middle School, smiles as a toddler rolls a strike at the bowling game during the Fall Fun Fest at the Issaquah Community Center. PHOTOS BY GREO FARRAR At left, Zahary Gettesman, 3, of Issaquah, is dressed as Spiderman as he tosses a rubber pump- kin ball to knock down pins Oct. 30 during the Fall Fun Fest at the Issaquah Community Center. Above, Ethan Jones, 4, is a UPS delivery driver with a pack- age containing his mom, Cathy Jones, the Youth Center director at the Issaquah Community Center. Ava Bdedy, 5, of Issaquah Highlands, enters the Haunted Hallway to see what spooky goblins await her and mom Jennifer, Oct. 30 during the Fall Fun Fest at the Issaquah Community Center. Children ages 1-6 enjoyed Halloween with face painting, craEs and games planned and run by Youth Center volun- teers. By Joshua Mayers Special to The Seattle Times Emily Baer saw a newspaper ad in search of unused soccer balls. Perfect, the eighth-grader thought. Answering that call would more than satisfy a corn- munity service requirement. She collected 36 balls from her neighborhood and figured she was done. Turns out she sold her- self short. Way short. "A couple months later, I was at it again," Baer said. More than three years later, the senior midfielder on the defending state-champion Skyline High School girls soccer team is still at it. With the help of friend and fel- low Skyline senior Katie Ulrich, 607 soccer balls and 1,298 un- used uniforms have been collected and donated to Af can children in need. "If I could go back in time and tell myself how much I d help collect, I don't think I would believe it," Baer said. Baer and Ul- rich started col- lecfing soccer balls with their Issaquah Soccer Club Arsenal '91 teammates at club tourna- ments at Lake Sammamish State Park. A service proj- ect was born. HOW TO GIVE If you have extra or unused soccer balls or uni- forms, contact Emily Baer at emilybae~co recast.net and Katie Ulrich at kateulrich6@ comcast.net. They named it Play it Forward. Along the way, Baer and Ulrich received help from Soccer Nation, a retail store in Issaquah that al- lowed the girls to purchase new soccer balls at wholesale prices with the money they had collected through cash donations. Months later, the girls' efforts expanded to include old uniforms. World Vision, a humanitarian or- ganization based in Federal Way, offered to distribute their collec- tions tO needy communities across the world. "We've received a lot of help over the years,, Baer said. Last fall, Baer and Ulrich hit the jackpot when they discovered a far greater source of old and un- used uniforms: their high school. "Our teams get new uniforms See SOCCER, Page B3 il By Christopher Huber Issaquah Press reporter f all the sad, happy and adventurous stories Chris Merritt could tell about his 38 years working for the local fire and rescue service, perhaps none of them have been as pro- found as the story about the time he decided to become a volunteer paramedic. never regret it.'" So, the day he turned 16, Oct. 6, 1971, Merritt signed up to volun- teer. Back then, the fire depart- ment and EMS was all-volunteer on the plateau -- Issaquah had two paid firefighters, he said. Back lowed in the footsteps of their fa- then, they didn't use much protec- ther and grandfather, who built rive gear or breathing masks, ei- the Pine Lake fire station, accord- "I'd like to talk on and on and on about the merits of Chris Mer- ritt," Eastside Fire & Rescue Chief Lee Soptich said at the agency's ....... : Oct. 13 meeting. Merritt and his four brothers fol .......... :i ther. ing to an EFR press release. Jim "To think about that now, that's Merritt is a fire commissioner in just crazy," he said. Yakima. The 54-year-old Merritt grew up "Part of it was the excitement of It was 1971 and he was 15. He next to the Pine Lake firehouse it," Jim Merritt said, regarding " accompanied his father, Jim Mer- and was surrounded by a family of why his son joined the department blaze tore the home apart. Merritt said the homeowner stood in front of the destroyed house, having lost everything. The man had escaped in time, but part of his suit had been burned off of his back. That was the pivotal moment, he said. "Dad turned to me and said, ritt, and some plateau firefighters firefighters: He works full time as then District 10 -- in his you . to a house fire because he wanted a medical service officer with King Every time the pager goes off, it s to see what it was like. He wit- County Medic One, but spent much a different scenario. I guess they nessed the walls collapse as the of his spare time until now looking got it from me." 'This man just lost everytl , he owns and ever cared about, Mer- out for the people in the Sam- mamish community. After an- nouncing his retirement Oct. 6, Merritt was recently recognized for his longtime service to the area. "I didn't retire to get recogni- tion. I retired to retire," he said. "It's difficult to believe that it's been 38 years." The department gave him a spe- cial fire extinguisher as a token of its appreciation. Chris became a part-time dis- patcher for the plateau area of District 10 in 1972 and then was certified as an emergency medical technician in 1973. Eventually, he was battalion chief, in charge of all the volun- ; teers at stations 81, 82 and 83, all of which are in Sammamish. "It's probably one of the most See MERRITT, Page B3 ritt said. "Dad said, 'If you choose a career in public service, you'll Ron Pedee, Eastside Fire & Rescue Board of Directors chairman (lelt), presents Chris Merritt with a commemorative fire extinguisher in honor of his decades as a vol- unteer. BY J.B. WOGAN