It’s been more than 20 years since former Lynnwood Aquatics Supervisor Randy Terlicker passed away tragically in the line of duty as a Seattle firefighter during a warehouse fire.
But the memory and legacy of Terlicker endures.
Family, friends and even people, who did not personally know Terlicker yet were inspired by him, gathered for the Randy Terlicker Memorial Scholarship Celebration and Fundraiser Friday night at the Lynnwood Recreation Center.
For Terlicker’s mother, Colleen, the past two months have been both inspiring and emotionally draining. The anniversary of Randy’s death was on Jan. 5 and earlier this month Colleen appeared before the Lynnwood City Council to accept a proclamation honoring her son.
Colleen spoke of the love for her son during the gathering and listened as others praised Randy and conveyed the impact of one man’s life on a community.
One speaker told of how a mother said that Terlicker was the only person able to teach her hyperactive daughter how to swim. Co-workers spoke of how much they enjoyed working with Randy and the laughter heard when he was around. Lynnwood Fire Chief Scott Cockrum was working in California at the time of the Pang warehouse fire that claimed Terlicker and three other Seattle firefighters. Even in California, however, the news of the deaths of the four firefighters touched people.
“I’m happy for what’s happening,” Colleen said of the events honoring her son. “But I’ve had to hold back the tears. It brings back all the memories. You never forget. You never forget.”
Terlicker was 35 years old when he passed away. He worked as the Lynnwood Aquatic Supervisor from 1988-1990. In 1990, he became a Seattle Firefighter, but he still continued to teach water safety, CPR and first aid classes at the Recreation Center until his death.
Colleen remembers that Randy actually thought about becoming a police officer before he settled on firefighting. One of Terlicker’s sisters told him that “you wouldn’t want to be a policeman. It’s too dangerous.”
Terlicker loved being a firefighter.
“He was a ray of sunshine for them all the time,” Colleen said.
The Randy Terlicker Memorial Aquatics and Life Safety Scholarship program was established in 1995. The program awards scholarships to those desiring to improve themselves and their community through education and training in aquatics, life safety and related areas of study.
“He still has a lasting impact on us,” said Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Deputy Director Sarah Olson. “One of the ways he has that impact is through the family’s and the City’s formation of the Randy Terlicker Memorial Scholarship.”
This year, the program plans to award up to 15 scholarships totally $2,625 toward lifeguard training certification so that youth, ages 15-20, may pursue a career in aquatics and life safety in Randy’s memory.
Seeing her son’s impact on the community has helped Colleen comes to terms with Randy’s death.
“I’m so grateful for what Randy has been able to do,” she said. “He accomplished what he was here for and his legacy continues on. That’s the way it’s apparently meant to be because he’s still helping people and it helps me.”
Donations to the Randy Terlicker Memorial Scholarship can be made at the front desk of the Lynnwood Recreation Center, 18900 44th Ave W, Lynnwood. 100 percent of every donation is used directly to provide scholarships. Checks made out to Randy Terlicker Memorial Scholarship Fund also can be sent to: City of Lynnwood – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts, Randy Terlicker Memorial Scholarship, Attn. Sarah Olson, P.O. Box 5008, Lynnwood, WA 98046-5008. Applications for the scholarship can be downloaded at: http://www.ci.lynnwood.wa.us/AssetFactory.aspx?did=4061
– By David Pan