Community supports former Buckley chief

My wife and I want to express our thanks to the wonderful community of Buckley, especially the firefighters and their families, for the tremendous outpouring of love and support during the most trying days of our lives.

After going through the L.A. riots I left the Los Angeles Fire Department in July of 1993 to serve as chief for the Buckley Fire Department. I had visions of raising our 8-year-old daughter Amanda and 6-year-old son Michael in a small town like “Mayberry.”

Of all the thousands of small towns across America, we were so blessed to have landed in Buckley.

We built our dream home and all was well until I was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I was admitted to the hospital in March of ’96 and my wife, Donna, was told that I was not expected to make it through the year.

This is when the support from the community and the firefighters went into overdrive.

We had no blood relatives in Buckley, but boy did we find out we had a big family.

I can’t say enough about the Buckley firefighters and their families, both active and retired. Their support was nonstop. It included meals and watching our kids while Donna spent countless days with me in Seattle. Our lawn was always mowed, animals fed and firewood split. At Christmas our house was decorated and in the spring they put in a vegetable garden. As I was going through chemo and radiation, many of the firefighters shaved their heads in support.

We are indebted to former Mayor Blanusa and the City Council for passing a special ordinance allowing city employees to donate unused sick time. Because of the many months I was hospitalized or too weak to work, the generosity of fellow workers, especially Police Chief Buster McGehee, Superintendent Mike Brendel and the late Officer Jim “Ozzie” Osborn, for their inordinate donations kept us from losing our home and financial ruin.

In addition to the firefighters, Donna and I would like to thank the entire town. Here are just of few of our special memories:

Enumclaw Fire Chief Joe Kolisch and firefighters Skip and Don for getting me to Seattle.

Retired Superintendent Mike Brendel, whose unwavering friendship and support included bottle-feeding our sick calf on his way to work each morning.

Bill Boyle Sr., who spent countless hours on his riding mower maintaining our lawn and knowing what was needed before we did.

The wonderful teachers and bus drivers, especially Ms. Raejean Spencer

Our bank and wonderful tellers, especially Linda, who transferred money to keep us from bouncing checks when Donna was in Seattle with me.

Barber “Bill” for his nonstop support.

Chuck’s Drug, Chuck for always going the extra mile for us.

Our veterinarian, Dr. Ross, for picking up and putting to sleep our beloved aged and ailing dog Tasha and never sending a bill.

Dr. Tait for his wisdom, support, and friendship.

Our Pastor, Dale Pratt, and the congregation for all their prayers and support.

The Buckley loggers for their support and generosity.

The Enumclaw Courier-Herald for coverage and encouragement.

Rick Vader for donating his time and truck to move us back to California and once again the firefighters and their wives for packing and loading the truck on moving day.

In the fall of 1997, I underwent a version of a bone marrow transplant using my own stem cells. Following the procedure, we were informed that it was not totally successful and that I may have a year to live. With that news, we decided it would be best to return to California.

It has been almost 13 years since we left Buckley and only by the grace of God that I am still here to write this letter. I’ve been in full remission for almost 12 years. We will always be indebted and never able to repay the love and generosity poured out to us. We left Buckley so much richer than we arrived. Every Thanksgiving we reflect on all our blessings and the many memories of our short stay in Buckley. They just become more special with each passing year.

Bob and Donna Roy


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