Ashes member, Warren Ensor, sells goodies to help raise funds to support the Key Peninsula Fire Department. Photo by Steve Whitford, KP News

Twenty some years ago Marguerite Eassard and a group of local ladies recognized the need for a community based organization whose goal would be to financially and emotionally support the Key Peninsula firefighters.

They decided to call their group “Ashes” and elected Eassard as their first president.

Since that time members have come and gone, but Eassard remains resident, though not by choice.

“I’ve tried to give up the position a few times, but nobody else wants to do it,” she said wryly.

Ashes works in harmony with the local fire department. Whenever there’s been a need, Ashes helps find a way to satisfy it.

Chief Guy Allen said they are a valued group.

“They are an integral part of our organization and help us in obtaining non-funded objects,”he said.

Over the years, these items have included the “Jaws of Life,” an extrication tool used for cutting open vehicles with trapped occupants. Citizens in need have been provided with hearing aids and even portable oxygen concentrators. Ashes also funded the construction of the fire-drill practice shed located behind the fire station in Key Center.

Ashes accepts cash donations, but they also sell homemade treats for fundraising.

During the last few years, Ashes member Warren Ensor has been busy doing just that.

He can usually be found seated behind his table at the Food Markets in Lake Kathryn or Key Center on any given Wednesday and Saturday.

For sale by donation are their cookies, fudge, banana, zucchini and pumpkin bread. There are eight different homemade jellies, including rose hip, and the extremely popular mint jalapeno.

Ensor makes the tomato salsa himself. Ensor’s a background man who besides selling for Ashes helps the “jelly lady”raises Christmas money for our local troops. She along with Ensors’ help raised money that helped local financially challenged soldiers have a merrier Christmas.

At present, there are 12 members involved with Ashes. They meet on the second Thursday of each month at the Key Center fire station. The meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. and ends with a potluck at noon.

New members and visitors are always welcome. For information, contact 884-2222.