Making an Impact across the Palouse

Responding to wildfires, car crashes, lost hunters and electric emergencies are all in a day’s work for Jason Johnson.

In addition to Jason’s full-time job as Manager of Electric Operations for Avista’s Palouse region, he also volunteers for the Deary (Idaho) Fire Department as an Advanced EMT. Jason is involved in a recreation district project to build a new activity field in Deary. And in 2019, he was elected to the City Council.

“I like to keep busy,” he smiled.

When Jason Johnson and his wife moved to Deary, Idaho in 2003, it didn’t take him long to get involved in his new community. Pursing his dream to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), he completed the intensive training and joined the all-volunteer Deary Fire Department.

“It’s a commitment to complete the hours and maintain my Advanced EMT and firefighting certifications,” Jason explained. “As an EMT, I’m one of 16 volunteers on the fire/ambulance combo. We respond to about 130 medical calls per year across a 144 square-mile area.”

The importance of community involvement was instilled in Jason at a young age.

“My grandparents and parents were highly involved in the community when I was growing up and I absorbed that,” Jason smiled. “It’s nice to know that Avista supports volunteerism because for me living in a small town, you get involved in a lot of different things.”

The pandemic threw a wrench into Jason’s volunteerism. He and his wife are raising two children – one with special needs. In order to protect his immunocompromised son from the virus, Jason moved his participation to the virtual world. He was able to continue his City Council and recreation district activities, but hasn’t been able to respond to fire and medical emergencies.

“I’ve been keeping my certifications current and hoping to ramp up to an in-person role by mid-summer,” Jason explained. “In spite of the pandemic, the Deary Recreation District is now a 501c3 non-profit and we’ve been applying for grants to finish building a really nice activity field. And the City Council is going well, too. Community involvement is what I love about small towns!”

Avista is Human Powered. Jason Johnson is one of hundreds of Avista employees giving back to their communities across our five-state service area. Collectively, these employees log thousands of volunteer hours every year with more than 500 community organizations.

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