Surely Goodness

Paul R. Webb – Lacey Historian of the Year 2024


The Lacey Historical Society has announced that one of its members, retired firefighter Paul R. Webb, has been selected as Ken Balsley Lacey Historian of the Year for 2024. Trustee Margie Worden Wyllie reports that Mr. Webb was nominated by the Lacey Historical Commission and then chosen by the City of Lacey as Ken Balsley Lacey Historian of the Year for 2024.

Paul's profound knowledge and passion for history are evident in his 2022 publication, History of the Lacey Fire Department—The First Decade: Personal Remembrances of Growing Up in LFD, which significantly contributes to our understanding of Lacey's past. The nomination is particularly apt this year as Lacey Fire District No. 3 celebrates 75 years of service to the community.

The book tells of the Lacey Fire Department’s all-volunteer “service club” origins and the work of many of its citizens to provide 24-hour-a-day fire and medical protection to Lacey and Thurston County.

Paul's nomination resulted from the admiration and respect he has earned from several members of the society. However, it was the heartfelt endorsement by his lifelong friend and fellow Lacey Historical Society member, John H. Turner, that truly set his nomination apart.

From John H. Turner, “Paul, like his mother, Annabelle Walsh, was born in Lacey and attended Lacey’s public schools. From the time Paul was 5 years old, we played together (mostly with toy fire trucks). Paul’s dad, Dick Webb, was active in the community, teaching Paul and others the importance of citizenship and serving as a role model for others to help create the Lacey Fire Department.”

“At 17, Paul recruited both of us to join the Lacey Fire Department as volunteers and later to become resident firefighters in our senior year at North Thurston High School while living upstairs in a building behind the Women’s Club.”

“Then Paul married the girl next door – literally, Mary Miller. From that time on, Paul knew what he wanted to do in life, but the Army had different ideas… Following that, he attended Bates Technical College, where he got a degree in Fire Science.”

“After completing a distinguished 45-year career in the fire service, Paul served as President of the Pierce County Fire Chiefs Association and as president of the Clover Park Rotary Club, where he remains an active member. He also continues to give talks regarding the Lacey Fire District Number 3 and to track down old fire apparatuses and restore them for history. Paul is an active member of the Lacey Historical Society and is one of the coeditors of its newsletter, and presently serves on the board of the Sonrise Church of God in Olympia.”

Paul R. Webb was born in 1949 in the historic neighborhood of Lacey, which is considered to be in the general area of Saint Martin’s University. He spent 45 years in the fire service in Western Washington. He now lives in Lakewood, Washington, with his wife Mary. They have one married son and a “grand dog.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story was edited to fix the title of the historian award to "Ken Balsley Lacey Historian of the Year" and chosen by "Lacey Historical Commission" on 4-22-2024 at 5:50 p.m. 


1 comment on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • What a delightful story about a dedicated, modest, and high-achieving firefighter! It shows how some people’s lives can embody the significant history of a place and a profession. Can’t wait to read the book!

    Sunday, April 21 Report this