Breaking News
Home » Headlines » County » County Welcomes Twenty-Three New Firefighters

County Welcomes Twenty-Three New Firefighters

OAKHURST – The Oakhurst Community Center was filled with the friends and families of Madera County’s volunteer firefighters on Sunday, Apr. 27, as current members were honored for their service and new volunteers were welcomed to the ranks.

For over 25 years, Paid Call Firefighters (PCFs) in Madera County have been recognized with a luncheon, prepared and served by Cal Fire Battalion Chiefs, Station Captains and firefighters.

Joe Ferris Gunnar Johnson and Chris Christopherson in the kitchenThe food was purchased through generous donations from Pistoresi Ambulance and Sierra Ambulance, along with funds raised from the previous year’s luncheon.

Manning the food service line was Cal Fire Battalion Chief Chris Christopherson, who’s grandmother’s recipe for green beans and bacon is always a big hit. Engineer Joe Ferris and Battalion Chief Troy Cheek also wielded tongs and dished up lunch.

Chris Christopherson Joe Ferris and Troy Cheek serve up lunchThe proceeding were interrupted though, by a call-out to a fire just off Road 426. Firefighters on Madera County Engines 8, 18 and 212, and Cal Fire Engines 4294 and 4264 did what they always do – dropped everything and responded to the scene.

Fortunately, this turned out to be an unattended brush pile, and everyone was able to return to the festivities.

Station 10 Captain Chris Haynes Dist. 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler Cal Fire Division Chief Don SteinAfter BBQ’d chicken and tri-tip, Cal Fire Division Chief Don Stein invited each of the veteran Madera County Fire Department members who had reached the milestone of 5, 10, 15, 25, 35, and even 40 years to come forward and be recognized.

“The PCF ranks in Madera County are now nearly 200 strong,” said Stein. “We rely heavily on these volunteers and appreciate their service.”

District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler presented each with a Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation from the Madera County Board of Supervisors, noting their “dedicated service to the people of Madera County as Paid Call Firefighters.” (see complete list below)

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike SurberStein then introduced Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Surber, the man in charge of Training and Administration for Madera County Fire, and responsible for the training of the newest class of PCFs.

“Mike has an incredible work ethic,” said Stein. “He has done an outstanding job and put in countless hours to make the most of this recent Cadet Academy.

There was thunderous applause for the 23 new PCFs who will be bolstering the ranks of the Madera County Fire Department, as they came forward to be recognized.New Paid Call Firefighters at PCF Luncheon 4-27-14

“This group is diverse and motivated,” said Stein. “They are here to serve you on a daily basis, and have to juggle jobs and family to do this.”

New PCFs present Cal Fire Engineer Ken Russell with plaqueThe new PCF class then presented Engineer Ken Russell with a plaque in appreciation of his work as a lead instructor during their training, which he did above and beyond his regular duties at Station 8 in Coarsegold.

Chief Christopherson closed the ceremonies by welcoming the new recruits to their duties as Madera County firefighters.

“We are very happy with your efforts, and look forward to seeing you out in the field,” he said.

With the business portion of the afternoon concluded, it was time for everyone to line out their ticket stubs for a chance to win one of the dozens of raffle items donated by various businesses and individuals.

Nancy Madosky comes out of the kitchen to accept an award for 5 years service as a PCFPCFs recognized for Years of Service:

5 Years of Service –

Co. # Name

10 Christopher Haynes

1RA Manuel Hernandez

10 Branden Landon

Juan Martinez honored by Tom Wheeler and Don Stein for 5 years service as PCF15 Nancy Madosky

12 Jonathon Malcolm

1 Juan Martinez

15 David Myers

1 Dominic Ochoa

11 Rachel Rivera

1RA Brian Schreiber

Tom Wheeler presents Rachel Rivers with 5 year service award with Division Chief Don Stein12 Sandy Verlench

2 Carl Watkins

17 Wayne Wellington

17 Freeman Wilfong

10 Chase Zinich

19 Sergio Guzman

James Craig celebrates 5 years of service as a PCF3 Jarrod Gutierrez

19 Tanya Gonzales

16 Brian Doorley

10 John Day

15 James Craig

16 Blaine Burrow

13 Todd Bates

John Peterson honored for 10 years of service as a Paid Call Firefighter10 Years of Service –

12 John Peterson

19 Mark Kellner

15 Years of Serivce –

3 Sandra Opfergelt

17 Matt Bigelow

Sandra Opfergelt has served 15 years as a Paid Call Firefighter25 Years of Service –

1 Michael Adames

35 Years of Service –

19 Don Chase

40 Years of Service –

2 Warren (Gene) McRee

Kitchen crew preparing to serve at PCF Appreciation Luncheon 4-27-14

Jerry Collins of Cedar Valley Station 18 brings dessert

Leave a Reply

Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online