By Judy Woods
We communicate with each other every day. We think that we know each other well but lots of times we don’t. I was reminded of that this last week when we had the opportunity to talk to Bill Nickerson, manager of the Sultan Red Apple grocery store. For years it has been, “We’ll ask Bill,” or “What did Bill say?” or “Where is Bill?” It seems like he is always there, and when he is not, it is always a concern.
Well, did we ever get our eyes opened this week! Bill is a mountain and ice climber and he absolutely loves it!
Bill is from Seattle and worked at Kenmore Plywood during his early years. He liked hiking and camping and he began to be curious about climbing, so he took a class at Green Lake Recreation Center, which only whetted his appetite for more. So he joined the Mountaineers.
One of the survival lessons at the Mountaineers is to dig a snow cave and spend the night sleeping in it without a sleeping bag. To me, that would be a make-or-break situation and I would break, but Bull evidently loved it.
He continued with the Mountaineers, gaining knowledge and experience enough to start climbing with some of his buddies, and it has blossomed ever since.
He got into ice climbing, which is far scarier than rock or mountain climbing, because ice is always changing. It is either freezing and expanding or thawing and shrinking and it is always more brittle. But he seems to like the challenge as much as mountain climbing.
He has made over 500 climbs so far, stretching from California to Canada, where most of the ice climbing is done. I think that one of his favorite places is Index; there are two granite walls there. It is awe-inspiring to see someone with so much passion for an activity as he has. His family, including his two sons, who are not into climbing, although possibly worried, must be very pleased that he has found something to which he is so dedicated.
It wasn’t too long after Bill started climbing that he decided a move to Gold Bar made a whole lot of sense since he was definitely hooked on climbing. He is still there and even had to take a hike to the upper wall in Index just to test his new pacemaker, not long after surgery.
Yet to be around Bill, you would never know of his climbing and of all of his accomplishments in it. He is always interested in your story or request and is ready to help in any way possible. We are very lucky to have him as our store manager at our Red Apple Market.
If you are interested in finding out more about mountain or ice climbing, or just Bill, you are welcome to check out his website at www.mrbills.org.
This letter was delivered to the VFW Post number 2554, of Sultan: “I am at a loss for words, and all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart to Robin Fox, her family, and the Sultan VFW who donated wood to my dad. The other half arrives tomorrow. You brought tears to my eyes.”
When the request for help came to the officials of the Sultan VFW Post, they decided to take it to the general membership for a discussion and a vote, and their response was, “There was a need in the community; we were willing and, fortunately, we could be there to help. We hope to continue to be able to assist other veterans in this great community.”
They were able to purchase a cord of fire wood and have it delivered.
This story was given to me by Chuck Donahue, Commander of Sultan VFW Post # 2554 and he is proud and feels good about it, as he should. That is what “…service organization are all about, be it the VFW, or the American Legion, or the Lions, and if you really want to feel good about yourself, come and join us.”
On Saturday night, March 22, there is going to be a celebration for finishing a renovation without going into debt! The celebration will be at the First Baptist Church, located at 315 8th Street in Sultan. They decided to renovate the Fellowship Hall but not go into debt. And they did it! So you are invited to their open house to help them celebrate; there will be music, and refreshments will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. Phone (360) 793-1893 if you have any questions and ask for Pastor Steve.