Marrowstone Island residents Bruce and Andrea Carlson were named the island’s “citizens of the year” for 2019 for their dedication to improving the island’s fire response and their volunteerism.
The Carlsons moved to Marrowstone Island less than a decade ago and immediately began volunteering. Bruce Carlson was president of the Marrowstone Island Foundation for three years.
“Bruce has been an advocate for improving emergency services on the island for the last seven or eight years,” said Bud Ayres, current president of the Marrowstone Island Foundation. “He’s been working on this problem for a long time, doing research into what it would take to build the infrastructure needed for a faster response time.”
The Carlsons worked together with the Marrowstone Island Foundation to raise funds to build a fully staffed fire station on Marrowstone Island that will allow all islanders to be able to purchase fire insurance and at lower rates for most residents.
Currently, workers are putting in a septic system for the new station. Once the septic system is built, the station, which is a firehouse that has been acting as a temporary building for a fire station on the other side of the Sound, will be brought over and placed on the foundation sometime in June.
But the Carlsons weren’t elected as citizens of the year just because of their help with the fire station.
“They’re involved in everything,” Ayres said. “Both are just completely engaged in all the activities that make Marrowstone Island what it is.”
The Carlsons both volunteer at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center regularly. Their fundraisers for the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding led to the expansion of the school’s campus and helped save Ajax Cafe from shutting down.
Andrea has worked with the Board of the Friends of Fort Flagler to improve the park and is active in the Nordland Garden Club, currently serving as its co-president.
Bruce spends time caring for the Marrowstone Cemetery.
Together, the couple fits the island’s criteria for its citizen of the year award perfectly: the winners must “have made a lasting or significant difference to the greater community through their volunteerism, activism, and leadership” on Marrowstone Island and Jefferson County.
Each year, islanders submit detailed nominations of fellow islanders who they think merit the award award, submitting comments about their nominations.
A committee of prior Citizen of the Year winners meets to evaluate all of the nominations and then chooses a winner. There will be a celebration dinner in the future, with a date and time to be announced.