This year’s recipient of the Plumas County Fire Chiefs Association “Chief Robbie Cassou Fire Instructor of the Year Award” is Assistant Fire Chief Tom Forster. The award was presented to him at the Chiefs Association meeting Saturday, Dec. 8.
Forster comes from a long family line of firefighters spanning five generations. He holds two associate degrees from College of Marin, one in physical sciences and the other in fire science. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cal State University Chico in 1983. In 1993 he completed his master’s degree in human resources and resource development at the University of San Francisco.
Forster serves as an adjunct instructor for the Monterey Peninsula College fire technology program and is a master instructor for the California State Fire Marshal’s Office.
While working for Lucasfilm Ltd. over the last quarter-century he has held many titles including director of community relations, director of operations and facilities and fire chief at Skywalker Ranch. In 2006 he was appointed to the position of assistant fire chief of the Plumas Eureka Volunteer Fire Department.
“Though a relative newcomer to the Plumas County fire services,” said Fire Chief Robbie Cassou in presenting the award, “he has made an enormous impact on us all.”
“He has been an invaluable asset to the Plumas County Chiefs Association where he now serves as treasurer. He has introduced us to, and developed, our organization’s strategic plan. He has helped record our county’s past, giving us a clear view of where we are as an organization today as well as a unified vision of our direction for the future.
“Through his ‘leading from behind’ style, he has brought us closer together as an association and given us a sense of ownership in our collective future
“As an instructor, this year’s recipient is unsurpassed in his abilities. His selfless devotion to his students and the betterment of the fire service has been an inspiration to us all.”
Forster has brought classes and instructors to Plumas County communities, and also recently taught a Level 1 fire instructors’ series in Graeagle, during which participants put in more than 136 hours of classroom time.
“We all know how much of a commitment this means to the instructor,” said Cassou. “But as usual he went above and beyond the call of duty. Throughout the class students would invariably miss a day of class. This instructor, in the midst of his own relentless schedule, would find time to give makeup days to these students to make sure they would succeed.
“We took the class once, he taught it twice.”
Forster ensured that all profits from the class went to the Fire Chiefs Association.
“To me this man has been a mentor, a giver of hope and clarity when times are at their toughest,” continued Cassou. “He has served as a barometer for me to help me making decisions that serve the greater good. Most of all he has been a true friend.”
The award was presented on behalf of local fire officials and the Plumas County Fire Chiefs Association.
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