A towering pillar of his community. A teacher, firefighter, and friend to all who knew him. Alan Dean Basso, ‘Big Al’ to his friends and colleagues, was a quintessential small-town guy with a heart matched only by his larger-than-life personality.
Al graduated from his hometown high school and later Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. Al also earned an Associate of Applied Science in fire protection technology from Portland Community College, as well as EMT and paramedic certifications through the Washington State Department of Health.
Al and his family were a significant part of the fabric of their town, and his extraordinary dedication to community service will never be forgotten. He served as a substitute teacher for Kalama School District, a part-time county juvenile detention officer, and in numerous roles with local firefighting agencies.
Al’s 36-year firefighting career included five years as a seasonal firefighter with the state Department of Natural Resources, one year with Washington State University, two years with Kalama Fire as a career firefighter, 21 years as a Kalama Fire volunteer/captain, and more than 21 years as a firefighter/ lieutenant for the Longview Fire Department.
Al’s integrity, humility, and sense of humor endeared him to generations of people. He was always authentically himself. He was the true embodiment of a public servant, as he so often demonstrated through his career in fire service, work with schools, and leadership as an elected official.
Al won a seat on the Port of Kalama’s Board of Commissioners and garnered a long list of accomplishments for which he will be remembered. The development and construction of the new Port Office and Interpretive Center, McMenamins Kalama Harbor Lodge, and Haydu Park are among the highlights in his storied run at the Port of Kalama. Al’s leadership helped create a remarkable period of growth that enhanced the City of Kalama’s livability, an achievement he was incredibly proud of.
Al often volunteered his time in support of youth fundraisers, especially those involving his hometown Kalama Chinooks. Al was proud of his involvement with Operation Warm Coats for Kids. His passion for helping area kids was legendary and nearly equal to his love for the Washington State Cougars, his favorite team.
Al’s greatest love was for his wife of 25 years, Vicky Basso, and their daughter, Brittany. Those who loved Al will grieve his loss every day but take comfort in knowing his legacy will live in their hearts forever.