My wife and I purchased land in Paradise Valley in 2007. We visited often and then decided in 2009 to begin building a home. We moved to Bonners Ferry in 2010 and I became a Paradise Valley Fire District (PVFD) volunteer firefighter in Aug. 2011. I assumed the position of acting Chief in Dec. 2018 and was appointed Chief in Aug. 2019.
My earliest memories of what I wanted to be were to be a firefighter. When my friends were playing with Tonka trucks and mini bulldozers in the sandbox, I was playing with a fire truck. I recall being a kid and being fascinated when fire trucks raced by lights and sirens. When I graduated high school, I recognized that helping people and saving people was what I really wanted to do. Life sometimes takes you down a different path before leading back to your childhood dream — and that is what happened for me.
What I like most about the department is the camaraderie. Some of my closest friends now are the men and women I have volunteered with over the last eight years. And those friendships are not just with PVFD, but with other fire districts and departments all over Boundary County,
We are always looking for volunteers — if not as firefighters, then to help out with the auxiliary. The auxiliary plans and coordinates the fundraising efforts for PVFD. Last year they hosted two fundraisers — the Chili Feed in March and the Pancake Breakfast in August. The money that is raised is used to purchase equipment and supplies for the firefighters. Items that are not part of our budget, but items that help make the fire fighters’ jobs safer and easier.
If you asked my wife, she would tell you that I am a firefighter 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Admittedly, I try to stay in district as much as possible as I never know when we will be toned out. I carry my radio when we walk our dogs or when I am cleaning up our land.
What would I say to men and women who are interested in volunteering — you can donate as much or as little of your time as you are able. The district does compensate volunteers if certain training minimum requirements are met. Many of our volunteers work full time jobs and help out when they can. That is why the mutual aid agreement with South Boundary and North Bench is so beneficial to all three districts. They too have the same volunteer challenges that PVFD does. With three pools of volunteers to pull from, the needs of a district can be met.
My ongoing goal is to increase the base of PVFD volunteers. To that end, I am always open to recruiting ideas and trying new things. PVFD is hosting Santa’s visit from the North Pole, along with South Boundary, the City of Bonners Ferry and the North Bench Fire Departments in the annual Chariots of Fire this year. We hope to attract families, some of which may have one or two members who would like to volunteer with the department.
As always, I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about volunteering to come to the main station at 2492 Paradise Valley Road on Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. I can also be reached by phone at 208-304-4565.