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Yost active fundraiser
Longtime ally of CRR fire department
By John Bowler
You wouldn't expect someone who has lived in Bend assisted living facilities for seven-plus years to still be active raising funds for the Ranch Rural Fire Protection District, but former Ranch resident Iva Yost is such a lady.
Yost, who resigned from the organization in 1996, explained, "The Ranch RFPD is still my passion."
Last year she raised $4,040 from her friends and family by writing and sending out a letter to 80 of them accompanied by a stamped, return envelope with her Bend address.
That's in spite of being legally blind and having impaired mobility and hearing. She received back 50 donations ranging from $15 to $500 and was ecstatic.
The funds appeal was for a desk and furnishings to go into the Ranch fire chief's office in new quarters soon to be ready for occupancy by the RFPD.
She added $2,500 to her donation which had accrued from sale of her Ranch home's furnishings when she moved to Bend in 1996.
According to Kay Norberg, Yost's colleague and good friend from her days with the Ranch Fire Auxiliary, the $2,500 from the sale was put into a CD, which grew to $3,100.
Yost requested that Norberg, who handles the funds, use any surplus from purchase of the chief's furniture for landscaping of the new fire hall.
Ranch Fire Chief Larry Langley, was at an out-of-town conference and could not be reached for comment, however, Kay Lammers, president of the fire department board, said, "He is most appreciative of the Yosts' contributions over the years, especially Iva's latest. He is planning a plaque in their honor in the new fire chief's office."
Yost's close relationship to and support of the Ranch fire department goes back to July of 1977, when she and husband Ken took up residence in a new home they built at CRR after moving from Portland.
Ken Yost, a retired fireman, subsequently became the first Ranch volunteer fire chief for one and a half years.
The Yosts had purchased a two-acre lot on Steelhead in 1976 for $4,995 with the stipulation they would build a home on it as soon as water was available from the fledgling CRR Water Co.
That came about the following year and theirs was one of the first stick-built homes on the Ranch.
Ken Yost loaned $2,000 to the RFPD to buy the white pumper truck which now sits in an empty field across from the fire hall. Iva Yost's fondest dream is to see it restored as a historic icon.
"I call Iva frequently for counsel," commented Lammers. "She possesses a tremendous history of the RFPD."
A member of the Ranch Fire Auxiliary and RFPD Board of Directors for 16 years until she retired in 1966, Yost held offices in both organizations and also was president of the Oregon Fire District Directors Association at one point.
She was the first CRR resident appointed to the Jefferson County Budget Committee, on which she served with current State Circuit Court Judge Dan Ahern.
He said he remembers her well as a "classy lady who served the financial interests of Jefferson County admirably and always came to budget committee meetings well prepared."
Spike Durfee, a Water Watchdog and also the first salaried RFPD chief, served under Yost, who was president of the RFPD board at the time.
"She's a nice lady who contributed her best to the Ranch fire department, and was very influential at the state level," he said.
"We did not always see eye to eye," Durfee added, "and she fired me. It turned out fine for me because I found a position which paid more money."
Yost is cheerful, upbeat and very "with it." She enjoys an active social life at Bend's Stone Lodge and frequently sees Ranchers Vona Huggins-Nichols and Mona Steinberg, who work there.
Yost alerted Huggins-Nichols, a CRR board director, to an opening in the Stone Lodge beauty salon for a part-time hair stylist -- just what Huggins-Nichols wanted.
Yost has two grown sons, Robert, in Portland, a retired physician, and Stewart, in Dillon, Colo., a carpenter and "ski bum," a term she uses lovingly to describe him.
Her granddaughter Jamie, Robert's daughter, is a second-year resident in gastroenterology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.