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Sam Blesse recognizes Cassou with a plaque from Plumas District Hospital and Care Flight for his longstanding involvement with those entities. Director Mike Taborski, who served as event emcee, looks on. Photo by Kimberly Eliason

Fitting tribute for retiring Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou

A crowd of nearly 120 well-wishers were on hand at a special retirement dinner held Saturday, July 15 at the Quincy Fire Station to show their admiration and respect to Robert “Robbie” Cassou, who has retired as the Quincy Fire Department’s chief, a position he’s held for the past 16 years.

During the evening, Cassou was lauded repeatedly for his journey, all detailing a career that spanned some 40 years in fire service, most of that time while with Quincy Fire. The common theme shared by the speakers focused on his extraordinary commitment and knowledge of fire service coupled with his ability to get things done.

The audience heard about his unwavering dedication to his volunteers and to his community. They also heard about his tenacity to identify and tackle any challenge — whether it was writing grants to secure much need fire safety and suppression equipment for not only his department but other departments throughout the county, or ensuring that volunteer firefighters had the same level of training and expertise required by those working on paid departments. It was mentioned that Cassou was an expert when it came to turning rookie volunteers into experienced and extremely proficient firefighters.

Master of Ceremony and Chairman of the Board for the Quincy Fire Protection District, Mike Taborski, was ready to begin introducing the evening’s speakers. But before they began, Commissioner Johnny Mansell interrupted the program with a lighthearted roast of Chief Cassou. Mansell’s humor poking fun at Cassou delighted the crowd and set the stage for what was both an informative and fun evening.

Following that, first up was the chief’s older brother, Larry Cassou. He continued with some of the same kind of humor — albeit just a little be more gently than Mansells. Larry shared what it was like growing up in the same household using a slideshow to poke fun at Robbie on this trip down memory lane.

Mike Grant shared his decades-long relationship with Cassou starting early-on with the Plumas County Search and Rescue program both were actively involved with.

Now retired from Quincy Fire, next was former Deputy Fire Chief David Windle speaking on behalf of the entire department on how the chief shaped Quincy Fire and how positive and rewarding the experience was working side-by-side with Cassou for most of those 40 years.

Captain Steve Wilburn, who works for Cal Fires’ Emergency Command Center in Grass Valley, discussed his longstanding relationship with Cassou, whom he described as his mentor helping steer through his own career in fire service.

During his presentation, Sam Blesse, the EMS Director for Care Flight and Plumas District Hospital, presented the chief with a plaque from those organizations. Blesse, too, has known and worked with Cassou, first meeting him while taking an EMT class at Feather River College where Cassou was his instructor.

Plumas Eureka Fire Chief Steve Munsen, who is also president of the Plumas County Fire Chiefs Association, spoke on behalf of all the departments throughout the county about how Cassou has helped them all in so many ways over the years, making special note of how much his fire leadership and expertise will be missed countywide. On behalf of the Fire Chiefs Association, he presented him with a plaque.

Quincy Fire works closely with most fire departments in the county. But, because of their proximity and mutual call agreement, Quincy is especially close in almost every respect with Greenhorn Fire. Its fire chief, Tyson Rael, presented Cassou with a plaque commemorating that relationship.

Former Plumas County Sheriff and current District 4 Supervisor Greg Hagwood has had a long and event-filled career, much of it working alongside the fire chief which he highlighted for the crowd. On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, he presented Cassou with a proclamation recognizing his years of service, his accomplishments, his dedication, and the leadership he has provided to fire services countywide.

Then, on behalf of the Fire Protection District, the community and the department’s volunteers, Commissioner Andy Ryback introduced the evening’s honoree and presented him with a plaque honoring his contributions and years of unwavering service and commitment.

Clearly very humbled and somewhat emotional, retired chief Cassou thanked the speakers and those in attendance for the evening’s festivities. He went on to acknowledge those who were instrumental in his own career journey — again, one that spanned more than four decades.

He also spent a good portion of his time at the podium thanking all those who have given much of their free time and service for both training and while on calls calling attention to the unheralded commitment it takes for them and for their respective families, noting that the rewards can certainly be well worth the effort.

“I’m proud of the work we have been able to accomplish during my career. I think Quincy Fire has been an inspiration to departments throughout Plumas County and beyond. Over the last twenty years our regional fire academy has raised the bar for fire service training and has brought all the county departments together in a way not seen before,” commented Cassou.

He introduced the department’s new Fire Chief Frank Carey noting that he was a great choice to lead the department and presented him with his chief’s badge and stripes. Carey also thanked Cassou for all he has accomplished adding that he looks forward to the challenges ahead.

In wrapping things up for the evening, Taborski stated, “As you heard from our distinguished speakers tonight, Robbie has had a long and extraordinary career in fire service. I had the distinct privilege to sit on the panel that interviewed the applicants for Chief Andy Anderson’s replacement 16 years ago. I and the others on that committee knew then that Robbie would be a great choice to follow in the huge footprint left by Andy when he retired. And, clearly, Robbie has done that.”

Taborski continued, “And now Fire Chief Frank Carey it’s your turn. We look forward to working with you as you protect and serve both our community and our department. We are confident that you have the knowledge, determination, and fortitude to continue building on the legacy that has become the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department.”

Cassou’s background

Cassou first joined the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department in 1980 as a volunteer firefighter. At the encouragement of then Fire Chief Andy Anderson, in 1985 while still active with Quincy Fire, Cassou took a full-time position with Los Angeles County Fire District to further his firefighting and emergency medical training knowledge and experience while still volunteering his services to Quincy Fire when available. In 1989 he returned permanently to Quincy taking a full-time job at as an EMT at Plumas District Hospital, becoming PDH’s director of Emergency Services from 1992-98. During that time, he became more involved with Quincy Fire as a volunteer firefighter, a captain and an operations chief. Cassou was named fire chief in 2007.

Greenhorn Fire Department Fire Chief Tyson Rael presents Cassou with a proclamation acknowledging the work and guidance he has provided to their department. Photo by Kimberly Eliason
Quincy Fire District commissioners Johnny Mansell, Andy Ryback and Mike Taboorski present Fire Chief Robbie Cassou with a plaque commemorating his 40-plus years of service to the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department. Cassou retired after 16 years as its fire chief and was honored at a retirement dinner July 15. Photo by Kimberly Eliason
Robbie Cassou presents newly-named Quincy Fire Chief Frank Carey with the fire chief’s badge during the retirement ceremonies. Photo by Kimberly Eliason

2 thoughts on “Fitting tribute for retiring Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou

  • best of luck chief Carey could not ask for a better ma.

  • Thanks for your service to the community, Robbie–you are a model citizen and have been so generous in offering your time and expertise to benefit Plumas County.

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