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Nov 26, 2019

For Immediate Release:

November 26, 2019



Julie Happy

Community Affairs Manager

Spokane Valley Fire






Spokane Valley Firefighters Operation Warm collected enough new coats and cash donations to bring 9 Valley Elementary Schools coats to kids in need.  School kids throughout East Valley, West Valley, and Central Valley will all be recipients of a new coat for winter this year.

SVFD Firefighters have been collecting donations and coats since the middle of October.  Last week, Firefighters handed out coats to 3 of those 9 area schools.

Cash donations received so far purchased approximately 600 coats!

The first 3 schools SVFD Firefighters visited last week with coats include:

  • Seth Woodard Elementary – (27 coats)
  • East Farms Elementary – (26 coats)
  • Broadway Elementary – (41 coats)

Six other schools so far will receive coats.  Three of those schools will each receive between 85 and 120 coats each!

“Receiving a coat from a Firefighter is a great memory for these kids,” said Spokane Valley Firefighter, Scott Niebuhr, “not only do they get a new coat to stay warm this season, they are able to have a positive interaction with a real Firefighter who cares about them on a personal level.  We hope this interaction creates a lasting and inspiring memory for their future years.”

Schools were chosen by the three Valley school districts – East Valley, West Valley, and Central Valley.  Flyers were sent home with students for parents to identify sizes and need for their child(ren).

This year Spokane Valley Firefighters hoped through their Operation Warm program to collect enough coats or donations to buy coats for all 30 elementary and preschools in the three Valley School Districts.  Valley Firefighters hope for more donations to come in for them to be able to go to every school in each district.

  • Last year firefighters gave roughly 425 brand-new winter coats to area children who didn’t have one.
  • As little as a $20 donation buys 1 Spokane Valley child a brand-new coat. You can donate online through the Operation Warm website, OR, you can drop off a brand new coat at any SVFD Fire Station in the community.

Money Donations and New coats will be collected through the end of November with distribution beginning now.

Businesses or organizations with questions about donating, can email

For the 2018-2019 school year there were 22,678 students enrolled in the Central Valley, East Valley, and West Valley school districts. 10,623 of those students were classified as Low income based on family income by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), with another 622 students classified as homeless.   At Trent Elementary School alone, over 88% of the 560 students qualified for free or reduced lunch.

Pictures from 2018’s Operation Warm:

About SVFD
Spokane Valley Fire Department serves the City of Spokane Valley, City of Liberty Lake, City of Millwood and the surrounding unincorporated areas of Spokane County with a combined population of 125,000 across 75 square miles. SVFD firefighters and paramedics responded to more than 17,280 emergency calls in 2017. Established in 1940, SVFD is an Accredited Agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, one of only a handful in Washington State.

For more information about Spokane Valley Fire Department, visit

Follow us @spokanevalleyfire on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.


Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Media Contact

  • Julie Happy
  • 509-892-4155

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”