NORTH FORK — After a combined 60-plus years of service to the community as Paid Call Firefighters (PCFs), Jere and Diann Miller are retiring.
At a special dinner on Monday, Nov. 6, the North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary bid a fond but sad farewell to the couple, who have responded to fires, accidents and medical aids from Station 11 since the 1980s.
Jere started as a PCF in 1975, serving until 1977. After a break, he returned in 1986, and for a total of 33 years, responded out of Station 11 — first from the old location under the library, and then from the new station at the Old Mill Site.
Jere worked for Ponderosa Telephone, Teledyne Industry, Ventsam Sash Co., and in the logging industry for 2 years. He then joined the ranks of the U.S. Forest Service, retiring in 2004 after 18 years. He still works with the USFS in the summer on fires, running crews and serving as a Field Observer.
Diann began her service in 1986, and spent 30-plus years as a PCF. She was also known to everyone as the smiling face behind the counter at the North Fork Post Office, retiring from that job in late 2009.
Her family came to North Fork in 1927. At one time there were four generations of Radmans living on the property. In 1990 one of Jere and Diann’s granddaughters was born at home, making five generations present at the same time.
“We helped at that time with the delivery call, and were able to help in the ambulance going to the hospital,” says Diann.
Her grandfather and dad helped to get the first fire station up and running in North Fork over 60 years ago, and she remembers going to the first dinner at the station.
“We lived next to the fire station in the late 60s early 70s. We had a fire dispatch phone in our house, and we had to push the fire call siren and let the firefighters know where to go.”
Both Jere and Diann have served as Captain at Station 11, Jere from 2010 to 2012, and Diann from 2012 until July of 2017. They were also instrumental in helping to get the new station built at the Old Mill site. After years of hard work and collaboration between the North Fork Community Development Council, and the North Fork Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary, Madera County, and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, the station was dedicated in May 2013.
“We could go a week without a call and then have two or three calls in one day,” says Diann, noting that most of their responses were for medical aids.
“We averaged over 100 calls a year, but one year we had nearly 300. And in the summer of course, we could be called out on strike teams and local brush fires.”
Diann says they will miss helping the community as PCFs, but are still going to be active participants, fitting things in with their plans to do some traveling.
Always firefighters at heart, they want to remind everyone to “stay on top of their fire and weather related prevention. We all need to do our part.”
Thank you Jere and Diann, for your many decades of service!