Columbia County’s first paid female firefighter celebrated her retirement with friends and family at El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant in Rainier.
Amy Frigard, who was hired by the Rainier Fire Department in 1998, retired in May 2022, and a celebration was held on April 17.
After the merger of the Rainier and St. Helens Fire Districts in 2002, Frigard continued his work with the then newly formed Columbia River Fire and Rescue Service (CRFR).
Prior to being hired, Frigaard had been a volunteer for five years and had more than 25 years of service time. Serving the community meant a lot to Frigard, who served with the Rainier Fire Department and his CRFR.
“Being able to help so many people means being called up at the worst of times. It is such an honor to be able to help them and take them to the hospital or care for them. You should be able to do that,” said Frigard.
This responsibility makes the job challenging, but it’s also one of the most rewarding aspects.
“Sometimes it helps, sometimes it unfortunately doesn’t. You know, and I don’t know, it has highs and lows. That’s for sure,” said Frigaard. rice field.
Frigard, who retired a year ago, has had time to reflect on what working hours mean to him. Some of the things she misses most are the people she worked with and the outreach element of her work.Frigard, who spent “her third of her life” with her colleagues, said she described firefighting as a “second family”.
According to Frigard, when she left the service, she worked as an engine boss and was certified as a fire brigade officer, but not paid as a department officer. She has also worked as an intervention officer at the Juvenile Fire Center, a role that speaks to children about the dangers of playing with fire on behalf of parents.
“I go into class and talk fire safety with all the kids from preschool through fifth or sixth grade,” says Frigaard. “I really enjoyed working with the kids, so that’s probably what I miss the most.”
Frigaard got a lot of joy spearheading the “Toy N Joy” program for the Rainier community, which provides gifts and toys to families in need.
“I ran the Fire Department’s Toy N Joy program for 22 years,” says Frigaard. “We provided food for the family and a toy for each child.
Frigaard is retired from the fire department, but remains in public service, working as an air traffic controller with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO). She works in the prison’s control room, controlling the movement of people throughout the facility.
Although the job is different from hers at the Fire Department, she still sees some similarities to her previous job. and the time spent there fulfilled a long-cherished dream.
“Well, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I mean, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. You know, I’ve always liked public service work,” Frigard said.
Who We Are is a frequent presentation by the Chief focused on community members who are making a positive difference in the lives of others.