Community Service

American Red Cross — I’ve trained as a shelter volunteer, Emergency Response Vehicle driver, and Public Information Officer. In the aftermath of the SR530 (“Oso”) landslide, I worked first as a shelter volunteer, then supported the Snohomish County Joint Information Center for three weeks as a Public Information Officer (PIO).

Cathy Watson at Community Meal

Ferndale Community Meal — I volunteer as a cook with the Community Meal, which provides a free lunch to anyone in need two Saturdays a month at the United Church of Ferndale. The Community Meal is part of the Ferndale Food Bank, but also receives generous donations from Christ Lutheran Church.

Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service — I co-founded the Ferndale Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS), a group of amateur radio operators who provide communications support to the Ferndale Emergency Operations Center and the Ferndale Police Department Communications Van. The ACS provides County-level support to the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center and on-site communications support for local events like the Ragnar Relay.

Cathy Watson in FPD Communications Van

Ferndale Emergency Resource Network — I’m a founding member of the Ferndale Emergency Resource Network (FERN), a consortium of emergency response volunteers who meet monthly to ensure Ferndale is prepared for any emergency or natural disaster. FERN groups include the Ferndale ACS, Ferndale Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Ferndale School District, Northwest Washington American Red Cross, the Whatcom County Volunteer Mobilization Center, and the Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center.

Chamber Volunteer of the YearFerndale Chamber of Commerce — I have been a member since 2012 and was awarded the 2014 Volunteer of the Year in recognition of my boots-on-the-ground support of the Chamber. In 2019, my spouse and I received a joint award: Empowered Women, Empowering Women.

Ferndale Library Lego Mindstorms™ Robotics  — My spouse, a former astronaut, and I are committed to helping Ferndale students prepare for 21st century careers. With funds from the Friends of the Ferndale Library and the Ferndale Kiwanis, we started a Robotics Club at the Ferndale Public Library to get more children interested in computer programming and robotics. A Mindstorms kit is available to any library patron who has completed one of our Mindstorms workshops or any Ferndale student who’s completed a related STEM class.

Friends of the Ferndale Library — I worked extensively with the Friends to garner support and raise funds to build the new Ferndale Public Library. I’m now focused on bringing more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities to the library.

Ferndale School District — I served on the Graduation Advisory Committee, working to improve the district’s graduation rate, and the Ferndale Community Coalition, working to eliminate violence in schools. During the school year, my spouse and I volunteer once a week with the Vista Middle School Engineering Club, helping students learn more about engineering through hands-on activities. In 2016, in honor of my commitment to the Ferndale School District, I received the Washington Association of School Administrators Community Leadership Award. In 2018-19, I assisted the Support Ferndale Schools Committee Bond campaign by designing and maintaining their website (

Snohomish Joint Information CenterWhatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center — I am a volunteer Public Information Officer. My job is to provide accurate, timely information to the public and media during an emergency or natural disaster. I also created the Whatcom Public Information Officer Support Team, which brings together communications professionals from more than a dozen organizations in Whatcom County to support one another in day-to-day operations and train together for emergencies/disasters.