EVERETT — Twice a week, the Footes cover 42 miles worth of fire stations.
Larry and Carol Foote volunteer as delivery drivers for Snohomish County Fire District 1. The retired Everett couple love chatting up the firefighters, snacking on firehouse treats and taking a coffee break along the way.
They deliver department mail and packages between fire district headquarters in south Everett and 12 fire stations in southwest Snohomish County. They also distribute payroll forms, training materials and office supplies.
Without volunteers, the fire battalion chiefs have to deliver the mail, district spokeswoman Leslie Hynes said. Those chiefs also juggle meetings and training sessions, in addition to answering emergency calls. That can make the mail delivery a little unpredictable at times.
When the Footes started, they were given suggested routes, said Carol Foote, 68.
Yet they’ve lived in the area a long time and knew all the back streets, she said. They quickly found a new route that shaved 30 minutes off the trip.
“So now we drink mochas,” said Larry Foote, 70.
Their favorite part of the drive is heading into Edmonds, when the view opens up to reveal the water and mountains, Carol Foote said.
“It makes the whole trip worthwhile,” she said.
The Footes joke that they’ve “flunked retirement.” They are part of multiple community service groups, and they take mission trips to Mexico. On those trips, they distribute donated glasses they collect at fire stations.
“This is a great opportunity when you are retired to be out and about and to meet people, to volunteer,” Carol Foote said.
The Footes aren’t the fire district’s only volunteers.
Ellen Hagen, 59, of Brier, does computer work, such as building databases, keeping a log of fire calls and writing internal newsletters.
She likes learning about fire prevention and safety, she said. She also likes interacting with fire district employees and members of the public.
“If someone comes by and wants to chat, hey, cool,” she said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.