Fire Dept Hires
Shelby Sakoda, Firefighter
“It was my dream to join the fire service and I would not be here if it was not for Bothell voters. I am happy knowing Bothell public safety services are expanding alongside all the new residences and businesses,” says Shelby Sakoda, one of Bothell Fire Department’s new firefighters hired with funds from a voter-approved levy. “I have friends and family who live here and I want them to receive the best public safety service possible.”
Shelby’s path to firefighting is unique and deeply personal. Nearly 80 percent of fire department hires have previous fire service experience – something Shelby’s impressive twelve years of business management did not include. Shelby started to consider a career change when he moved back home to Hawaii to take care of his ill grandfather. “Looking back on the values I was taught, everything was about what you can do for your family and friends,” Shelby shares, “spending time with my grandfather made me reflect about what more I could do to serve what he always called ‘the greater good’.”
After much self-reflection, Shelby decided the teamwork, family mentality, public service, and continuous learning offered by firefighting was a fit. He enrolled in the North Seattle College EMT program and started going on ride-a-longs with several fire departments in the area to see where he wanted to work.
“Bothell firefighters stood out to me because they were always the friendliest. Now that I am part of the department, I can see why. The team is truly supportive and encouraging of each other,” says Shelby, “I am thankful to the City, the Department, and the community for the chance to be here.”
We’re thankful to have you on the team, Shelby! Thank you, voters!
Ryan Smith, Firefighter
“Bothell voters have demonstrated a huge commitment to the Fire Department and the City by passing the Safe and Secure levy and bond. It’s amazing to work for a community that credits us with the services we provide and wants to support us enhancing those services,” says Ryan Smith, one of the Bothell Fire Department’s new firefighters hired with funds from a voter-approved levy.
Ever since Ryan was a kid, he wanted to become a firefighter. In high school he participated in a two-year Fire and EMS training program and graduated with his EMT certificate. “At first I wanted to become a firefighter to learn how to handle stressful situations and help people facing medical emergencies,” Ryan shares, “Seeing how happy the firefighters who instructed my classes were made me want to join the fire service even more.”
After graduating high school, Ryan owned and operated a custom welding and fabrication business for several years. In addition to teaching welding lessons and running his own business, Ryan also spent two years as a part-time firefighter for Snohomish County Fire District 5 before joining Bothell Fire. “I was drawn to Bothell Fire because I knew it was a community-oriented department and I liked that it was small, but still professional,” says Ryan.
Looking ahead to his firefighting career, one of Ryan’s long-term goals is to educate communities nation-wide about life-saving practices and programs. “Many people do not know this but when it comes to cardiac arrest and CPR, we have some of the highest save rates right here in King County. King County is often one of the first to get new information about training and methods and I would love to be part of sharing this education with others.”
For a look inside King County’s EMS program visit: https://bit.ly/2k4AKgf
We are so lucky to have you, Ryan! Thank you, voters!
Jen Sargeant, Firefighter
“People would be surprised to know which aspects of firefighting are the most difficult,” says Jen Sargeant, one of Bothell’s new firefighters hired with funds from a voter-approved levy. “When I was volunteering with Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue, I rode to the hospital with an older woman who was so scared she could not speak. There was nothing I could do except hold her hand until we got there. It was a reality check that people need help from us in ways beyond just putting out fires.”
Prior to joining Bothell Fire, Jen graduated from Central Washington University and served six years in the National Guard where she was deployed to many state wildland fires as part of a strike team. “My military experience has definitely helped me with firefighting,” she says, “part of service and leadership is making the best decisions you can in the moment and being the best for the people around you. Firefighting is similar.”
Despite an impressive resume of playing competitive soccer, coaching CrossFit at her local gym, and completing training at Infantry School and Master Fitness Instructor School, Jen is most proud of being introduced by her father at a recent family gathering as his ‘new firefighter daughter’. “He is the most important person in my life and does not excite easily,” she recalls, “it was such a good feeling to see his face and know how proud he is of me.”
Jen is part of a team of firefighters that will support the operation of a new aid car, also funded by the levy. Once the voter-approved rebuild of Station 45 in Canyon Park is complete, this aid car will provide enhanced, full-time emergency medical service to North Bothell. Welcome to Bothell Fire, Jen! Thank you, voters!
Brad McCollum, Firefighter
“Passage of the public safety levy and capital bond shows that Bothell is aware of the changing dynamics of this region and takes the safety of this community seriously. Residents understand we need more first responders in both Fire and Police to handle the growing call volume,” says Brad McCollum, one of the Bothell Fire Department’s new firefighters hired with funds from a voter-approved levy. “It is amazing to work somewhere that has so much community support.”
Brad has lived in many cities across the United States but has always hoped to return to the Pacific Northwest to raise his three children. Brad previously lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico and held his first post as a firefighter for Los Alamos County Fire Department. “I am most proud of my decision to become a firefighter,” recalls Brad, “firefighting is a very unique job. I love the family aspect of the department, being able to serve the community, and the excitement that comes with each call. You never really know what you’re going to get.”
Brad graduated as the Valedictorian of the Fire Academy and excelled in the Bothell Fire Department’s panel and Chiefs’ interviews. “I knew the field would be really competitive,” says Brad, “but I really wanted to join Bothell Fire because of all the people I met throughout the interview process. They call it a fire family for a reason – when you plan to work and live with a group of people you get to know their families and they get to know yours.”
We could not be happier to have you join the Bothell Fire Family, Brad! Thank you, voters!