Current and former fire chiefs with Clallam County Fire District 3 gather to send off outgoing chiefs Ben Andrews and Dan Orr. Pictured, from left, are: current District 3 chief Justin Grider; Andrews; former chief Steve Vogel; Orr, and former chief Tom Lowe. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Current and former fire chiefs with Clallam County Fire District 3 gather to send off outgoing chiefs Ben Andrews and Dan Orr. Pictured, from left, are: current District 3 chief Justin Grider; Andrews; former chief Steve Vogel; Orr, and former chief Tom Lowe. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

District 3 says thanks to retiring chiefs

SEQUIM — A pair of Clallam County Fire District 3 chiefs were inaugurated into the small pantheon of past chiefs following years of leading Sequim’s firefighters, paramedics and community emergency volunteers.

Coworkers, family and friends paid their respects at an official retirement ceremony for Ben Andrews and Dan Orr on March 27, as led by newly hired District 3 chief Justin Grider.

Andrews started as the fire chief in August 2015, replacing retiring chief Steve Vogel. He first served with Jefferson County Fire District 3 (Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue) before he joined Sequim in 2003.

As he thanked his fellow fire district staffers and family, Andrews said he was inspired and learned a lot from those close by — even those who challenged him. He gave particular thanks to a pair of former Fire District 3 chiefs in attendance: Vogel and Tom Lowe, who proceeded Vogel as the district’s leader.

“I’m grateful for the chiefs who have led me,” Andrews said.

“You need great people to make yourself look good ... and Ben was perfect,” Vogel said, adding, “it was an honor to have you work for me.”

Orr started with the fire district in December 2015, replacing retiring assistant chief Roger Moeder. He started with the Pismo Beach Fire Department in 1985 and served 15 years with the Santa Maria Fire Department, serving as its fire chief for four years.

Orr took on the interim title earlier this year after Andrews exercised an option in his contract last April to work remotely until he retired.

Vogel praised Orr’s efforts to help establish the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

“You have made our community safe,” Vogel told Orr.

As well-wishers crowded inside the district’s North Fifth Avenue station, fire commissioner Michael Mingee asked Andrews and Orr to consider the impact they’ve had on Sequim.

“This is your legacy; look at what this district has become. You guys did this,” Mingee said.

“Thank you for the wonderful resources; we will take care of it.”

A day later, the district also said “so long” to longtime firefighter/EMT Scott Dickson, who is moving out of state.

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other newspapers Peninsula News and Forks Forum. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.

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