Masquerade supports fire department

Annual fundraiser helps raise money for Whitman County fire



Event attendees look at the silent auction items saturday night at the SEL Event Center. Some of the items included fire themed metal art.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

Firefighters and guests danced the night away at Whitman County Fire District 12’s inaugural Masquerade Ball to benefit community education Saturday night at SEL Event Center.

Mirenda Stenbakken, Emergency Medical Services chief, oversaw planning the event. She said the ball was initially planned for 2020 but they didn’t want to wait that long before hosting it.

“We decided to do a formal event and masquerade sounded like something fun that everybody would enjoy,” Stenbakken said.

Elya Gross, president of the association of WCFD12 firefighters, said the event is fun because it is more formal than events WCFD12 has put on in the past, like their annual golf tournament.

“I’m excited to see who made it and what type of people we were able to reach because most of our events are pretty much the same kind of people,” Gross said. “This one is something that is completely different than anything we’ve ever done.”

The event kicked off at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour where event attendees clad in formalwear and masks mingled and took pictures at a photo booth.

“We’re used to seeing each other in turnouts and on ambulance calls,” Stenbakken said. “It’s kind of fun to see everybody get dressed up.”

Following a catered dinner at 7 p.m. was a presentation by WCFD12’s Junior Firefighters, middle and high school students interesting in firefighting.


Local stand-up comedians Jared Chastain and Corey Leisy took the event stage at 8 p.m.

Throughout the event, participants bid on numerous silent auction items, including packages donated by Palouse Ridge Golf Course, Holiday Inn Express, Pizza Perfection and other local sponsors.

Austin Zaring, structural welder at All Fabrication & Supply in Pullman, said he made metal art items for the silent auction.

“I grew up on a farm in Dusty, so we’re kind of our own firefighters out there … so just anything that helps out,” Zaring said. “I think this is a cool idea of how to get fundraising for firefighters.”

The money raised from the event will go toward community education, which includes CPR classes, Stenbakken said.

“Being able to get newer, upgraded materials, being able to provide materials when people can’t afford them themselves, that’s probably a big one for us,” Stenbakken said.

Stenbakken said WCFD12 has about 35 members who service Highway 270 to the Idaho border, Highway 195 between the city of Johnson and Landfill Road and Highway 27 as far as Palouse.