Interim Fire Chief
Chief Noonchester is originally from Arizona and grew up enjoying the heat, and the warm water in the nearby lakes. After graduating from high school, Noonchester relocated to the Denver area where he finished his Bachelor’s degree and started a family. His two children, Kaitlyn and Samuel, are now grown and are scattered around the world. Kaitlyn works as a dental assistant in Seattle and Sam serves in the Air-force, stationed in England.
Noonchester joined the fire service about fifteen years ago in Las Vegas. There, he started as a reserve firefighter/EMT for the Boulder City Fire Department. During the entrance process of becoming a paramedic, he was offered a full-time position in Stanwood, WA. He and his family established a new life in western WA in the fire service.
After several years in Snohomish County, Joe moved to Whatcom County to continue his career. After working with the City of Lynden, he became part of the NWFR family as the training officer. Wanting to advance his education, the department sponsored him to attend the National Fire Academy EFOP.
With some major life changes, Joe is newly re-married to a wonderful woman and enjoys Bellingham as his home.
Division Chief / Fire Marshal
Division Chief / Fire Marshal Herschel Rostov was hired by NWFR in May, 2019. He was born in Seattle and grew up in the South Seattle, Rainier Beach and Skyway area. He moved to Clinton, Whidbey Island in 2011 and just recently relocated to Custer. He has one daughter who is attending Whatcom Community College. Chief Rostov attended private school through high school and received a general AA from South Seattle College, Fire Command AA from Bellevue College and is currently working on a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from Anna Maria College. Chief Rostov has moved up the ranks in his fire service career from volunteer firefighter at King County in 1992; career firefighter beginning in 1996; assistant fire marshal (15 years) and fire marshal (5 years), all at Mercer Island Fire. Before relocating, Chief Rostov was very involved with local youth soccer in Tukwila as a coach, assistant coach and VP coach. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, hiking, fishing and target shooting. Chief Rostov brings a new perspective to both the prevention and inspection program.
Jason Van der Veen
Division Chief / Operations
Division Chief of Operations Jason Van der Veen was born in Seattle and raised in Bellevue. He relocated to Whatcom County in 1994. Jason, his wife Meagan and their seven children reside in Lynden.
Chief Van der Veen began his fire service career by graduating from the WA State Fire Academy in 1998. He became part of the North Whatcom Fire and Rescue family in February 2007. Through his diligence and hard work, Jason was promoted to the position of lieutenant in 2010 and then to ops chief in 2019.
Chief Van der Veen was raised by parents who set a wonderful example of selfless service to others. He tries to emulate these attributes and pass them on to both his children and coworkers.
Administrative Assistant to the Fire Chief
Jennie Sand was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She relocated to the Whatcom County area with her family at the age of 12. With her children grown and no longer in the school system, Jennie began to explore other career options, which ultimately led her to the fire service. After nearly 20 years in education in one capacity or another, Jennie joined North Whatcom Fire and Rescue in June 2009. Jennie is a life long learner, who enjoys taking classes that will broaden her horizons. She is currently enrolled with Everett Community College studying Fire Science.
Benita Williams was born in Mission City, British Columbia, Canada. Benita began her work career in Canada as a Enforcement Clerk/Officer for the Conservation Officer Service. (Fish and Wildlife); She worked for 15 years in 100 Mile House before transfering to Chilliwack in 1995. Benita relocated to Washington State in 1999 while continuing to work in Canada. She joined North Whatcom Fire and Rescue as the Business Manager in 2004. Benita is an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends much of her free time running and working in the yard.
Kris Parks was born in Coburg (Bavaria) Germany. Being a former “military wife,” Kris has had the opportunity to live in several cities in Germany, as well as Scotland for a short time while attending college. Kris eventually moved to the United States in 1999. Kris studied business administration and then specialized in foreign trade. Currently Kris is enrolled with the Everett Community College studying Fire Science. She is also a registered Washington State Emergency Worker and a member of CERT. Prior to the consolidation, Kris was the Administrative Manager and Board Secretary for District 4. Kris continues as the District 4 Board Secretary and we welcome her into the North Whatcom family as the Finance Assistant.
Human Resource Assistant
Kelly Freeman has been a certified personal trainer for ten years and has been training in the fire service since 2006. Her career in the fire service as a trainer began with a contracted position, training a group of firefighters during a local fitness challenge for emergency responders. Over the past six years her position has grown into a full time position as the Health and Wellness Coordinator at North Whatcom Fire and Rescue. As a Health and Wellness Coordinator, Kelly oversees all of the new hire and annual medical physicals requirements of career, part-paid and volunteer staff. On a weekly basis, she sees approximately fifteen different crews for physical training at different station locations. She is the district liaison for Labor and Industries, Coastal Administrative Services, the district occupation physician, as well as any issues regarding physical fitness for the district. Kelly holds the position of Infectious Disease Control Officer and sits on both the safety and grant committee. Over the past six years Kelly has become certified as a cross fit instructor, TACFIT instructor and circular strength training instructor. She has also had the opportunity to attend both the Phoenix Fire Department’s fitness symposium as well as a firefighter specific training at Athlete’s Performance to learn more in depth about the physical rigors of firefighting. She has been asked to teach fire fighter fitness classes a the Whatcom County Recruit Academy, Skagit Valley College Fire Science program and at surrounding fire districts. Kelly has been involved in the production and growth of the TACFIT Firefighter First Alarm fitness program with the program designers, Captain Ryan Provencher and Captain Christian Carson.
Recently, Kelly’s role has changed at NWFR. In her new role as Human Resource Assistant, she will continue to provide members with her valued insights and expertise.
Marcia is a native to Washington, born in Vancouver. She has two daughters and seven grandchildren. Marcia has attended college in both Yakima and Bellevue and currenlty resides in Bellingham.
We are excited to have Marcia here with us. She brings a strong background in professional business practices, data entry and a great sense of humor.