WALLA WALLA, WA - A former inmate from the Washington State Penitentiary is showing his support for the Walla Walla Fire Department.
Eric Van Trent presented Fire Chief Bob Yancey with a hand carved, wooden plaque on Tuesday.
Van Trent was released from the prison on Wednesday. He says the plaque is to honor what he saw as a Walla Walla Fire Department crew recently took care of one of Van Trent's fellow inmates.
He says he observed "how efficient these guys worked, and how it exuded confidence in us."
Then, just one week later, Van Trent also needed the fire crew's assistance for a medical condition. He says he was put at ease when, after asking if he would be alright, the paramedic but his hand on his shoulder and said yes, he would be alright, and explained why.
The former inmate says as a participant in the Sustainable Practices Lab, he has had the unique opportunity to repurpose or rebuild discarded items which are then returned free of charge to the community through area charities.
Van Trent is a wood carver, and presented Chief Yancey with a carving made from black walnut which had been donated by the Walla Walla Foundry.
The Fire Department and Local 404 Firefighter Union say they're thankful for the plaque, and plan to display it proudly at the fire station.