Bellingham Fire Department is honored to announce the retirement of Battalion Chief Cary Gustafson after 41 and half years in the fire service and 38 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Bellingham. Chief Gustafson worked his last shift on June 23rd and today we celebrate his distinguished career.
Chief Gustafson is a home-grown kid and attended Bellingham High School, Western Washington University, Bates Vocational Technical, and received his Fire Science degree from Edmonds Community College. Cary’s first taste of the fire service came when he worked as a Wildland firefighter with the Washington State DNR back in 1978. By 1980, Cary began as a Resident Volunteer Firefighter with the Federal Way Fire Department and was hired in his first full-time firefighting position with Federal Way in 1981. Missing his hometown, Cary decided to apply with Bellingham and in 1984 he was hired.
Cary held various positions at the department, including Paramedic for 12 years, Fire Captain for 17 years, Hazardous Materials Team Member for 18 years, and most recently Battalion Chief for the past 8 years. In addition to those positions, he served as the IAFF Local 106 President from 1992-1996 and was an adjunct Fire Instructor at Skagit Valley Community College for 10 years.
Chief Gustafson said that what he appreciated the most about the job was being able to help others during some of the most critical and stressful times in people’s lives. For retirement, Cary plans on finishing up on projects, traveling, and volunteering – but not firefighting. While we are honored to announce his retirement, he will be missed greatly. Congratulations, Chief Gustafson and enjoy retirement! ...