FWPD customer service specialist Gretchen Sund (right) and volunteer Bill Morton (left) posing for pictures after Sund received the Police Chief’s Citation for her actions in helping officers locate Morton in his home after a fall. Photo courtesy of city of Federal Way

FWPD customer service specialist Gretchen Sund (right) and volunteer Bill Morton (left) posing for pictures after Sund received the Police Chief’s Citation for her actions in helping officers locate Morton in his home after a fall. Photo courtesy of city of Federal Way

Citizen of the Month’s quick action saves elderly man’s life

FWPD’s Gretchen Sund honored for her concern that saved 94-year-old volunteer’s life.

Gretchen Sund knew something wasn’t right.

A longtime customer service specialist for the Federal Way Police Department who works at the front desk, Sund noticed 94-year-old Bill Morton was late for his shift one morning last November.

While everyone runs late every once in a while, Sund knew this was very out of character for Morton, a longtime volunteer for the department.

“I’ve known Bill for a very long time,” said Sund, who recently received the Police Chief’s Citation for her actions that resulted in saving Morton’s life. The Mirror also recognized her as January’s Citizen of the Month.

Sund knew Morton was always a half hour early for his Monday morning volunteer shift. On that Monday, when 8:15 a.m. rolled around and he still wasn’t there, she knew something was wrong. She tried calling him at home with no answer, and her voicemail box was empty too.

She reached out to Morton’s daughter in Florida to see if she could get a hold of him, but he didn’t answer his daughter’s call either. So Sund decided to let the on-duty lieutenant know what was going on, and some officers were dispatched to conduct a welfare check. They found him lying face down on his living room floor, with a broken hip and a contusion to his head.

Sund said the first officer to arrive on scene was Jonathan Jimenez, who saw Morton’s foot sticking out behind some furniture from his living room window. She said everyone in the office could hear Jimenez on scene through the radio, and hearing him call for medical assistance was a scary moment.

Sund teared up recalling hearing those calls over the radio and not knowing if Morton was OK.

“I was pretty scared.”

Then Jimenez ran around to the back of the house and pounded on the window, to Morton’s reply of, “I need help,” Sund said.

Morton had apparently fallen the night before and wasn’t able to get to a working phone to call for help.

“I was so relieved I had trusted my instincts,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I blew it off … something could have happened, he’s 94 years old.”

Sund said she was just grateful she was able to help out an old friend.

“I didn’t feel like I did anything that heroic, I just trusted my instincts and acted on it.”

She’s thankful the end result was a happy one.

Commander Kurt Schwan had nothing but good things to say about Sund.

“She’s loyal, caring, compassionate,” he said.

Commander Chris Norman, who nominated Sund for the police award, had similar thoughts about her. He said they receive a lot of good feedback about her from people in the community.

“She’s very willing to help others,” he said.

Sund said she enjoys the work she gets to do for the department, and that’s why she’s been there for 20 years.

“I like meeting people, I like helping people at the front counter,” she said. “I just enjoy the interaction and trying to help people in the city.”

Her career in law enforcement didn’t start how you might think, though.

At about 30 years old, Sund, after being a stay-at-home mom, wanted to get back into the workforce.

Alongside her part-time job with the city’s Parks and Recreation department she started in 1993 as a facility supervisor, she also started by volunteering with the department, and was part of the first-ever volunteer team to work for FWPD after the department was created in 1996.

Her volunteer work started with fingerprinting, and she was also involved with a Victim Assistance Program until she applied for and was hired on to a paid position.

Sund said her volunteer work for the Victim Assistance Program allowed her to connect with people involved in traumatic situations, such as rape victims, parents of infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or those who found a family member dead in their homes. She said volunteers in that program were trained to help provide support and resources to those undergoing a traumatic situation like these.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Federal Way Public Schools reveals plan for reopening schools in fall

Depending on state guidelines, students will have a combination of in-person and remote learning days.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo.
Renton battles King County over temporary shelter at Red Lion Hotel

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

Federal Way teacher pleads not guilty to child rape charges

A Tacoma man pleaded not guilty to three charges of second-degree child… Continue reading

Federal Way’s Pacific Bonsai Museum reopens to the public

Local gardens and exhibits are welcoming guests once again, now with additional safety measures.

Photo courtesy of South Sound News
One woman, two kids injured in serious car crash along Pacific Highway South

A 21-year-old reckless driver may have run a red light and crashed into the victim’s vehicle, police say.

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

File photo
Red light, speed zone cameras generate $3.8M for Federal Way

2019 annual report shows 36,789 citations issued for both red light cameras and school zone speed areas throughout the city.

The Chip-In fundraiser hopes to meet the $3 million goal to provide 5,000 laptops to FWPS students.
Former MLB player hopes to raise $3M for 5,000 laptops for FW students

The Chip-In fundraiser site provides 100% of the proceeds to Federal Way Public Schools

Most Read