Meeting My Neighbors: Sara Fassett

Name: Sara Fassett Family Member Names: Jordyn Fassett (daughter) 19; Taylor Fassett (son) 17 Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” This is such a big question!  As I would imagine it is for many people, I feel like my life has gone through so many transformations that have brought me here today.  I would like to talk about what has brought me to where I am right now and why I am so excited about it. When our family moved to Ferndale, we bought our house right up the street from Mountain View Elementary where both kids would go. What an amazing school and I am still sad it is gone.  However, back then it was a fabulous place for my kids to be.  I started volunteering right away and came to know other parents, the teachers, staff, and other volunteers.  A few years in, I got involved in the volunteer Art program.  Funny because I am not artistic at all. Seven sets of portfolios with 5 different artists would travel throughout the Ferndale elementary schools.  Art docents (parent volunteers) would teach about each of the artists in the classrooms with projects for each.  By the time a child left 6th grade, they would have been exposed to 35 different artists!  All shared by volunteers.  At Mountain View, our program would end with the Art Fair where we showcased the art the kids had created throughout the halls and at the Fair itself.  I so wish this program was still in happening…I took over the program for the last 3 years before Mountain View closed and it was through this that I met and got to know Bertella Hanson who was the backbone of the program in the school district. Flash forward to 2016 – I was just getting back into real estate and working at Rockwood Realty on Main Street.  One day, Bertella walks in!  It had been years since I had seen her and she was inviting us to be a member of the Ferndale Downtown Association  (FDA).  I was happy to see her and of course we joined.  Through this and my association with her, I started becoming more interested in what was happening in our Downtown Ferndale where I now worked.  I got more involved and then met Kelsey Rowlson with the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.  We partnered up to go around visiting the business around town on behalf of our different organizations.  It was so eye opening to chat with local business owners and hear their thoughts, both positive and negative.  I love to talk with people and I felt like this was a way I could make a difference and help bridge a gap I saw.  I was invited to be a Chamber Ambassador and then approached as a potential Board member and was elected in 2018.  In the meantime, I was appointed to the City of Ferndale’s Parks, Recreation, & Trails Advisory Board (PRTAB). I feel so fortunate to be a part of the all 3 organizations that are working together to make sure Ferndale is a thriving, vibrant part of the greater Whatcom County community where people want to come live and do their business.  We have a truly wonderful group of folks throughout our city organizations who only want the best for Ferndale and I am so grateful to be a small part of it;) What brought you to Ferndale? When my daughter Jordyn was approaching Kindergarten in 2005, we were living in Bellingham.  I remember driving around one day and seeing a group of high school aged kids wandering downtown when school was in session.  I had this epiphany that I wanted to raise my kids in a smaller town and started asking everyone I knew where they went to school and what they liked about it.  I had so many people tell me how much they loved going to Ferndale.  Not one negative opinion!  This was the telltale sign for me that this was where I wanted to raise my family.  And although my superficial reasons for wanting to move make me laugh now (Bellingham is a great town as well ) I am so grateful we made the decision to move our family to the Ferndale community.  Right from our first days here, we felt welcomed. I have always told people one of the greatest things about this town is the sense of community.  I know that if I ever needed anything, there is somebody I know who would be there or point me in the right direction.  I am blessed to be here and so happy to involve myself and my family in the process of building up our city.  I am so excited to see how we will proper and evolveJ How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? Our family moved to Ferndale in 2005. Best Ferndale landmark? My favorite landmark in Ferndale is the fountain at Riverwalk Park!  What a joy it is to drive over that bridge and see the water dancingJ Often times with the kiddos of Ferndale splashing and playing.  Parents get to sit and chat while watching their children play and the town pass by. The moving water feels like something alive greeting people as they come to town…a little cheesy but think about it next time you see it crossing the bridge, lol;) What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? I have a number of them!  Art Fairs at Mountain View, camping out at the ball fields for my son Taylor’s baseball tournaments, having the community come out for our Ragnar team (Van-Go!) as we ran through town, Ye Old Fashioned Christmas every year with the kids even when they were too old for Santa…my favorite for myself was helping set up and work with the vendors at the Chamber of Commerce Ferndale Street Festival last year.  It was such a joy to get to know new people, help answer their questions, and make sure their Ferndale experience was the best it could be while contributing to the biggest event Ferndale puts on every year.  I really felt like I was a true member of the communityJ  I am looking forward to another great event this summer! Who should we meet next? I am sure I am not the first person to suggest her but Anya Milton is an incredible woman and I would love to hear more of her story!

Meeting My Neighbors: Erin Gunter

Name: Erin Gunter

Family Member Names: Husband Jeff of 22 years, son Cody-19 years old, Kyle 16 years old.

Story: I moved up to Bellingham in 1988 to attend WWU.  In my junior year I met Jeff.  He was already graduated and working as a real estate appraiser when we started dating.  Once I graduated I decided to stay up here and see what happened.  We ended up getting married in 1997, and  built a house in Ferndale, on Fat Dog Lane.  We eventually ended up in a neighborhood and have loved watching our kids grow up here.  We have lived in Ferndale since 1999.  During our time here I have worked for Fred Meyer for 22 years and also was a Para Educator Sub for the district.  Working in the schools was a great way to get to know our staff and teachers.  We are very lucky to have great people who love our children in our schools.

Favorite Ferndale landmark: Pioneer Park.  We have gone to Old Settler’s events and Old Fashioned Christmas for as long as I can remember.  My husband was on the Old Settler’s Committee for a few years as well. We are lucky to have a place like that right in our back yard.

Favorite Ferndale Memory: One of my favorite memories was taking the boys to Hovander Park.  Back in the day when they were little they had a gum ball machine that sold grain to feed the animals for 25 cents per turn.  Cody and Kyle would love getting a handful of food and feed the ducks, turkeys, goats, peacocks and whatever other animals they had at the time.  Today I take a lot of family and senior pictures at Hovander, it is a great icon of Ferndale.  In my spare time I am a photographer, I can be seen at sporting events, plays or any cool activity Ferndale has to offer taking some pictures.  Taking pictures makes me happy, great way to connect with people!

Who should we meet next? So many great people to still meet!  Try connecting with Fran Genger, Laura Joseph, Stephanie Honrud. and Kristi Harting. )}},rem

Meeting My Neighbors: Jason Dahlstrom

Name: Jason Dahlstrom Family members: wife Crystal, son Jaxon 14, son Boomer 12, daughter Ellie 8

My Story: I am the Scoutmaster of Troop 4026 in Ferndale. My family has been hugely impacted by Scouting and as such, we put a lot of time and energy into the program. Every Monday night we meet and work on teaching 11-15 year old Scouts how to be good leaders and citizens. I absolutely LOVE it! Seeing the young men in our community learn from each other, have fun, and build lifelong relationships are the highlights for me. I think every young person needs a team working for them to succeed. I’m happy to be a part of a great team working for that cause. I’m a cheerleader. I’m that guy in the crowd clapping too loudly and yelling my kid’s name. Or your kid’s name. I love celebrating successes.

What brought me to Ferndale: I moved to Ferndale to get a fresh start. As a 15 year old, I was fed up with the toxic environment that I had grown up immersed in. I had a friend who had moved to Ferndale and invited me up. I became an emancipated minor and put myself on a better path. This community was exactly what I needed.

How long have I been in Ferndale: It’ll be 23 years this fall. I lived in Everson for a couple years and spent a year in Lynden (Sorry, we all make mistakes).

Best Ferndale landmark: I love Central Elementary. The building is classic, the location is great, and the people inside that building are all-time great Ferndaliens.

Best Ferndale memory: My first winter here there were 10′ drifts near Pioneer Center. My friend and I spent hours digging tunnels through those drifts. Also, my junior year, FHS football took second in state!

Who should we meet next: Kathy Jeffries, Central Elementary darling.

Meeting My Neighbors: Sarah Koehler

Sarah and granddaughter Olivia

Name: Sarah Koehler

Family Member Names: David (husband of 39 yrs) daughters Rachel and her husband Jim, Jessica and her husband Joe, and 1 granddaughter Olivia. 

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” I’ve worked at the Whatcom County Library System for 22 years and have been the Ferndale Branch Manager for 11 of those. I am proud that the library has become a focal point of the Ferndale community, a gathering place for people of all ages and incomes. I believe in being an active member of my community, I’m a member of the Ferndale Kiwanis Club, and on the board of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. 

In 2013,  my husband Dave and I became small business owners when we purchased Signs by Tomorrow in Bellingham. Our daughter Rachel, who is a graphic designer, is our manager. David runs the business overall, and I do our bookkeeping. It’s been a challenging and rewarding endeavor! 

What brought you to Ferndale? Dave and I met in our junior year of High School in a small town in Kansas.  We visited Dave’s family on Vancouver Island and fell in love with the area.  

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? We moved to Bellingham in 1986, bought a house at Sandy Point in 1991 and have considered Ferndale our home ever since.

Best Ferndale landmark? Pioneer Park. I love the history of the park, and am so impressed and appreciative of all the volunteers that make it the gem that it is. 

Your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale. Grand Opening of the new Ferndale Library of course!

Who should we meet next? Adrian Hilde, Cathy Watson. 

Meeting My Neighbors: Dianne Gillespie

Name: Dianne Gillespie

Family Member Names: Gavin-1989 Ferndale High School Graduate and owner of Natural Art Landscaping. Noah is almost 20 years old! A 2018 Ferndale High School graduate. Noah is just finishing up his first year at Central Washington University where he is studying History/Social Studies teaching. He hopes to return to Ferndale High School to teach someday! (Hint, hint Jeremy)
Reese will be 18 this summer. He will be a Senior at Ferndale High School next year. He is very active in the Leadership program, sports, Young Life and the Customs Border Protection Explorer program. He will attend Whatcom CC after graduating. Reese will pursue a career in Customs and Border Protection and hopes to live here locally.

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” I am a Whatcom County transplant! I was born in beautiful Hawaii, moved to Groton, CT as a child and then to Kennewick, WA- which is “where I’m from”!! Those of you who know me know that I am always cold, and I believe it’s because my thermostat is set a little different having lived in warmer climates!!!! After graduating from Kamiakin High School I attended Wenatchee Valley Community College where I played basketball and softball. It is also where I met Gavin! I graduated from Western Washington University and have lived here ever since! Gavin and I married in 1994. Gavin started our business…Natural Art Landscaping the following year. I spent many years working at Northwest Podiatric Lab in Blaine in their tech department (let me be clear….I gave Drs. product advice…I did not work on computers!). After we started a family, I continued to work full time. When the kids started elementary school, I decided to work part time at the lab…. traveling once a month to trade shows. I did this for several years. I always volunteered in the classrooms and was active in the PTO. That led to me being a para educator substitute and then a para educator. I have worked in several different schools in the district. I currently work in the office at Vista Middle School and I also supervise before school, after school and at lunches. This by far is the best job ever! I get to help so many different people in the office….and then I get to go out with the kids during lunch and play and interact with them!!! There is a lot of football throwing that goes on…I love throwing the deep balls to the boys! I also work “in the office” at home doing the paperwork for our Landscaping business. I am still active in sports (basketball is my favorite!) and I love going to Ferndale sporting events and will continue to after Reese has graduated!

What brought you to Ferndale? Gavin! He has lived in Whatcom County most of his life. After I graduated from Western, Gavin and I lived in his family’s farmhouse-just west of Horizon Middle School where the housing development now sits. We bought property in the county and built a house that we moved into the day after Reese was born (NOT a plan I recommend to anyone!….it was just how it worked out!). We still reside in that house…. we hope to downsize in the next few years and stay in the area.

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? Since 1992

Best Ferndale landmark? Point Whitehorn Nature Trail. The whole family loves that place. An easy walk through the woods down to the beach…. where it is so quiet and beautiful.

What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? I really think the best memories have come working in the school district. I have met so many kids, teachers, parents, staff and coaches throughout the years. I love seeing the kids years later and getting hugs from them or a “Hey I remember you from Eagleridge!”. It is so fun to watch kids grow and learn.

Who should we meet next? There are a LOT of people I think you should meet!! Sara Fassett, Shannon Wanlin, Sandy Peppar, Fran Genger, Marty Moravec, Jana Hatchett, Erin Gunter, Heather Leighton, Jamie Thomas, Sam Wood, any teacher/employee in the district for that matter! If you need more…. there are so many more wonderful people to meet!!

Meeting My Neighbors: Margie Overhauser

Name: Margie Overhauser

Family Member Names: Brian (hubby), Sophie (graduating high school and lives majority of time in Spokane with her mom), and Nolan (3rd grade)

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” Hi! I love to drink wine and relax and experience happiness. I’m currently enrolled in online school at South Dakota State University (go Jackrabbits), and I also work full time, AND I have a side business on Etsy (www.logslicesbymargie.com). I do not take life too seriously, and I love meeting new people. About 14 months ago, I completed Exposure Response Therapy treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Seattle. I am an advocate for mental health awareness, and I’m open to questions about my specific situation with OCD.

What brought you to Ferndale? My husband is a mechanical engineer, and he got a new job up here. Before that, we were living near Dallas, and before that we were in Spokane (he’s originally from Spokane, while I am a born and raised Minnesotan).

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? It will be three years in July. Yay!
Best Ferndale landmark? The big red barn at Hovander.

What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? My favorite memory is when the school bond passed this February.

Who should we meet next? Brittney Lunday or Dawna Melander.

Meeting My Neighbors: Todd McKernan

Name: Todd McKernan

Family Member Names: Rowena (wife of almost 21 years) and Aidan (18, student at Whatcom Community College)

Tell your neighbors a bit of your story. What makes you “you?” For some reason which I still don’t fully understand, I started running one day in 2014, sort of like Forest Gump. I had never been a runner before, I wasn’t that good at it and didn’t really know what I was doing, but something strange happened…. I got better at it, and people started running with me. My friend Dan Kenoyer and I started The Northwest Renegade Running group which now includes over 170 members, we have fun encouraging, and supporting each other while exploring new places giving everyone opportunity for success through training.

What brought you to Ferndale? We had outgrown our condo in Bellingham and were looking to upgrade to a bigger, newer, house. It was a good time to buy because of historically low interest rates but we were surprised to find how much more house we could afford in Ferndale compared to Bellingham so over the course of most of 2012 we had our house built and figured that a comparable house in Bellingham would have cost us around $100,000 more, that plus a similar commute time for Rowena and a substantially shorter one for me the choice was a no-brainer.

How long have you been a Ferndale neighbor? Moved to Ferndale on Thanksgiving Day 2012, my favorite holiday because of the 4F’s family, friends, food and most importantly football 🏈😊. <<bg>Best Ferndale landmark? The Metallica Bridge, it always makes the city so happy when Metallica is on that bridge.

What is your favorite memory from your time in Ferndale? So many great memories of Ferndale but my favorite would have to be this last Thanksgiving. Melinda Cool has been organizing a local neighborhood Thanksgiving 5K Turkey Trot for the past several years and I have run several of them with my son and other running

friends. The last couple of years Melinda has even asked me to collect
donations which I was happy to do. This last year however I was finally able to
talk Rowena (my wife) to participate in it as well under the conditions that we
would walk (not run) and that we would only do the 1-mile course. Of course we
missed a sign and ended up doing around 2 ½ miles, much to her chagrin.
Melinda’s Turkey Trot raised a substantial about of money that year for local
charities including the food bank.

Who should we meet next? Ryan and Chelsea O’Larey, also Sean and Melinda Cool