40 years in the making

CKFR Chief Ken Burdette (right) presents Assistant Chief Roy Lusk with a plaque for 40 years of service to the department. CKFR Board of Fire Commissioners Chair Bob Muhleman looks on. - Rachel Brant/staff photos
CKFR Chief Ken Burdette (right) presents Assistant Chief Roy Lusk with a plaque for 40 years of service to the department. CKFR Board of Fire Commissioners Chair Bob Muhleman looks on.
— image credit: Rachel Brant/staff photos

Assistant Chief Roy Lusk celebrates 40th anniversary with CKFR.

June 23, 1969.

That was not only Roy Lusk’s 16th birthday, but the day he began his 40-year stint with Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR).

CKFR Assistant Chief Lusk celebrated 40 years of service to the department Monday afternoon with family, friends and co-workers.

CKFR Chief Ken Burdette presented Lusk with a plaque Monday at the fire department’s Newberry Hill Road headquarters.

“This was a big surprise,” Lusk said. “It’s an honor.”

Lusk became a volunteer firefighter with Silverdale Fire in 1969. He said he was walking past the old fire station on Bayshore Drive in Old Town Silverdale one day and decided to see what being a firefighter was all about.

“I was hooked,” he said.

Lusk stayed onboard as a volunteer firefighter until 1982 when he was appointed Kitsap County Fire District 1’s first paid assistant chief.

Lusk graduated from Central Kitsap High School in 1970 and married his wife, Jenaye, in 1971. Jenaye also was a CKFR volunteer firefighter and retired in 2005 after 32 years of service.

“She always told me she had to join the department to see me,” Lusk said with a smile.

Lusk said he and Jenaye went on thousands of fire calls together. They lived next door to the old Bayshore Drive fire station and were always the first ones to the fire engines when alerted to a fire.

“We were always there,” he said. “We had such good times.”

The Lusks have two children, daughter Kelli Leavell, 35, and son Jason, 33. They also have two grandsons, ages 8 and 6.

Lusk said he never thought he’d become a firefighter, let alone make a career out of it.

“If I didn’t do this, I don’t know what I’d be doing,” he said. “I truly can’t see myself anywhere but the fire service. It’s been a great career.”

Lusk said even though he doesn’t go out and fight fires anymore, the excitement hasn’t gone away.

“I got to tell you, the excitement’s still there. Those tones go off and your ears still perk up,” he said.

Lusk said he’s volunteered or worked under almost all of CKFR’s chiefs over the past 40 years and his office is home to the department’s old photographs and memorabilia.

“I’m one of the few history keepers for our department,” he said.

Lusk said CKFR has come a long way from 1969 and the innovations and technology of today’s fire service amazes him.

“The apparatus alone is phenomenal,” he said. “When I look back on the department, we were the first department in the county to have the jaws of life, first to have a large diameter hose ... .”

Lusk said he enjoys interacting with the public and his co-workers are a large part of why he’s stuck around CKFR so long.

“The organization, I’d have to say, is more like a family,” he said. “All fire service has a traditional family type feel to it, but I just love the people and the department has certainly been good to me over the years.”

As for the future, Lusk said he’s thought about retirement, but has yet to set a date.

“If you would have asked me three, four years ago, I would have said sometime soon. I’m contemplating retirement. The idea of it appeals to me,” he said with a smile. “I’m sure there’s those in this office who are waiting for this desk to be empty.”

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