Councilman wears many hats
Thursday, February 14, 2013
WENATCHEE — When a southend house was gutted by fire in December, leaving the residents without a home or vehicle, Councilman Bryan Campbell gave the distraught couple a ride to their friend’s house and gave them money.
As a reserve officer for the Wenatchee Police Department and formerly a longtime volunteer firefighter for the last 25 years, Campbell has found himself fighting fires, dealing with family conflicts, fights, comforting crime victims, and aiding in medical emergencies.
When he dons a uniform, Campbell said he finds a release from his suit-and-tie career in banking and financial management. Besides helping people, “It’s the excitement of doing something different,” Campbell, 53, said. “I like the physical training and the comraderie and the adrenalin rush.”
After earning an undergraduate degree at University of Washington, he returned to his home town and got a banking job in Wenatchee. He worked at banks around the region until landing a job at Cashmere Valley Bank in 1986. Two years later, he became a volunteer firefighter for Chelan County Fire District 1.
He went with local crews to fight wildland fires in Oregon, staying in fire camps. He battled the Dinkelman Ridge wildland fire and Columbian Hotel fire, both in 1988. “Fighting fires was my release from the banking world,” he said. “It was just so completely different from what I did in my day job.”
In 2001, then a vice president for Cashmere Valley Bank, he started Wenatchee Valley Crimestoppers with his childhood friend Blair McHaney in response to a growing amount of gang graffiti. That same year, a Wenatchee Police sergeant who was a customer at the bank invited Campbell to go on a ride-along and encouraged him to become a reserve police officer.
So he hung up his fire pants and stepped into a support role at Fire District 1 as he pursued volunteer police work. He went through the police academy and is commissioned as a second-class officer. He has many of the same power as a first-class police officer and carries a gun when on duty. But he does not drive his own car and instead rides with other officers. He is required to have the same routine training as full officers, including shooting, emergency vehicle operation and defensive tactics.
Campbell’s wife, Jody, said she supports Campbell’s volunteer work but admitted that she worries about his safety.
“I’m fearful every time he goes to do the police work,” she said. “My fear is the domestic violence calls.”
She added that it doesn’t conflict with their family life “because we don’t have little ones at home and we both lead very busy lives. But sometimes we don’t see a lot of each other.”
Campbell has two grown children — a daughter who is a nurse and a son who is a Navy Seal.
He also was a founding board member for the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization; has served as a United Way loan executive; member of Rotary for 25 years; has served on the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and Wenatchee Visitors Bureau boards; has been an Applearian since 2004; and continues to work as a support member for fire crews.
“Bryan is just one of those guys who can’t help but help,” said McHaney, owner of Gold’s Gym in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee.
Campbell said his desire to help people and his community led him to run for city office a year and a half ago.
“This is my community and if I can help make my city safe and a better place, then that’s what I want to do,” he said
Michelle McNiel: 664-7152
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