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Inside the Fire House

Quincy Captain Dony Sawchuk (left) accepts his Instructor of the Year award from Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou at the recent Plumas Fire Chief’s Association meeting in Graeagle.

The Plumas County Fire Chiefs Association held its annual “year-end” meeting recently in Graeagle, and recognized several individuals and one business for outstanding service and support.

We value positive leadership,” said PCFCA President and Graeagle Chief Ed Ward, “… and part of that includes recognizing outstanding service and thanking people through our awards.”

This year the awards included special recognition to Becky Osborn of Plumas County Planning, for her excellent work with Geographic Information Systems and mapping for emergency fire evacuation throughout the area.

The plaque was accepted for Osborn by Sue McCourt of the Office of Emergency Services, who worked with Becky on this major project. McCourt was previously recognized for outstanding work on the Firewise Communities program.

“These valuable maps would not have happened without Becky’s skills and hard work,” said McCourt.

The Graeagle Land & Water Company was recognized for outstanding support to the countywide fire service for many years of allowing free use of their lands and water systems for fire engine driver and pumping training.

GLWC President Dan West is a former fire chief of Graeagle, and his son, Harvey West III, is a current volunteer fire captain in the department. Dan’s father, Harvey West, Jr., founded the fire district in 1967, and served as a volunteer for 35 years.

Also recognized for his service was former Portola Fire Chief Henry Johnson, who served as acting chief for several years before stepping down by choice into a captain’s role. Ron Jacobson Jr. is now the Portola fire chief. “We want to recognize the service of all outgoing fire chiefs in this county, given the very challenging nature of the role,” said Ward.

Two perpetual awards are given each year, starting with the Chief Robbie J. Cassou Fire Instructor of the Year award. This year’s recipient was Captain Dony Sawchuk of the Quincy Fire Protection District.

“Dony has made excellent contributions to both our department training programs and to the county fire service through teaching at the Quincy Fire Academy,” said Cassou, “… we very much appreciate his service.” Sawchuk serves as the facilities director for Plumas County.

The last award was the perpetual Steve Tolen Leadership in Emergency Medical Services award. Tolen presented it to Graeagle Chief Ed Ward, for “… over 30 years of outstanding service in EMS.”

Ward serves as one of the few volunteer paramedics in the county, and also leads emergency medical technician, CPR and responder classes through Feather River College and locally. Ward, in turn, thanked Tolen for “… being a key mentor to me over the years.”

These awards and profiles on each of the recipients is partially posted on the new PCFCA website that can be viewed at plumasfirechiefs.org. Many of the profiles are still being written but all will be published in 2017.


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Plumas County fire chiefs and guests gather after the PCFCA meeting: (from left, standing) Nick Dawson, Bill Robinson, Steve Tolen, Vicki Anderson, Bob Frank, Joe Waterman, Julie Cassou, Jose Alvarez, Sue McCourt, Steve Peters, Jim Stockdale, Henry Johnson, Jim Hamblin, Don Gordon, Robbie Cassou, and K.C. Brackett; from left, kneeling) Ed Ward, Ron Heinbockel, Dony Sawchuk, Sean Delacour, Dean Brackett, and Tom Forster.

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Steve Tolen, left, presents the EMS Leadership Award to Graeagle Fire Chief Ed Ward.

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