Ready named Quincy’s Fireman of the Year
By Mike Taborski
As is customary each February, the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department selected one member who best embodies the mission and values of the department to receive the coveted Firefighter of the Year award. This year, fire commissioner Andy Ryback presented the award to Captain Dale Ready during the department’s 145th annual Installation of Officers banquet held Saturday, Feb. 18.
In making the presentation Ryback said, “Dale epitomizes the qualities we look for in our fire department. He is intelligent, trustworthy, compassionate, and humble. His quiet demeanor puts people at ease. Dale always has a positive attitude and is always willing to take time to help others, and he does so with a genuine smile on his face.”
Ryback also mentioned in detail the numerous certifications and specialized training Ready has obtained during his firefighting career with the Quincy Department that began in 2014. In 2021, he was selected by his peers to serve as one of the department’s captains.
“On incidents he is always calm under pressure and his subordinates have complete confidence in his abilities. He sees the big picture and makes good, informed decisions,” Ryback said.
Fire Chief Robbie Cassou said, “Dale’s attendance at weekly training sessions is excellent. In recent years he stepped up to take a leadership role as an instructor during our annual Fire Academy and at our Tuesday night drills. He values his students who appreciate his low-pressure approach to teaching. He is a team builder and encourages others to step out of their comfort zone and achieve new abilities.”
Volunteers leading the way
The volunteer firefighters and the members of the support team were also recognized during the installation banquet for their many contributions and dedication to both the department and to the community. As a group, in 2022 they invested nearly 5,000 hours of their own time on emergency calls, training, community outreach programs and other volunteer and fundraising activities for the department. They responded to 572 total calls that included fires, auto accidents, hazmat issues and medical and public assists.
The top responders
The top three responders in 2022 were also honored that evening. Leading the list for those 572 emergency calls was Deputy Fire Chief Frank Carey with 208 logged responses. Captain Ready was second making 138 calls and Assistant Chief David Schmid made 120 calls.
Support Team Member of the Year
At nearly every incident, firefighters are extremely fortunate to have the backing of the department’s Support Team, another group of dedicated volunteers making sure those on the frontlines have all they need to succeed safely and efficiently.
Tracy Weaver, QVFD’s Support Team leader, presented Kathy Errecart with the 2022 Support Team Member of the Year award. While Weaver described in some detail the important role the Support Teams plays at the department, she said that of her 10 team members, five were nominated to receive this special award and that “…choosing just one from that list was both difficult but also easy.” She recognized Kathy for her dedication to the team’s ongoing training programs along with her exceptional dependability in responding to emergency calls. Errecart has been a member of the Team since its formation 12 years ago, Weaver said.
Honoring 48 years of service
A special presentation was made to Robert “Bubba” Pierson, who is retiring from the department after 48 years of service. In making the special presentation, Chief Cassou lauded Pierson for all he and his family have done over the decades for the Quincy Fire.
“Bubba comes from a long and distinguished line of the Pierson family who all helped shape this department over several decades. Family members included is father, Orphie, his mother, Kay, brother Orphie Jr. and uncles Fred and Kenny,” Cassou said. “Bubba certainly followed in their footsteps and his dedication to this department has been exemplary. He and his family before him gave their heart and soul to this department and to Quincy, and we will forever be in their debt.
Cassou also noted Pierson’s work background and how it touched so many different people. In addition to Quincy Fire, it included Plumas District Hospital on the ambulance and in the ER and at Peninsula Fire at Lake Almanor where he worked for many years as a fire medic. He also worked for the Forest Service on the Plumas Hot Shots and ultimately finished his professional career as a paramedic with CalFire.
Milestones of Service
Also being recognizing for their time with QVFD, service pins were presented to Lisa Hopman, 10 years, and Sara Frigo and Eric Vinyard, with 5 years each under their belt.
The membership also votes on its choice for captains to lead the department each year. The 2023 officers sworn-in by Commissioner Mike Taborski that evening included Support Team Leader Tracy Weaver; Captains Tony Arcangeli, Dale Ready, Eric Vinyard, Matthew West; Assistant Chief David Schmid; Deputy Chief Frank Carey, and Fire Chief Robbie Cassou.
Joining the Fire Family
During the evening’s ceremonies the department’s newest certified firefighters were introduced: Jesse Lazzarino, Chopper Munoz, Amy Weaver and Chase Hume. Six members of the department’s auxiliary firefighters in training were also introduced: Jason Ackley, Denise Gibson, Brian Newhouse, Tyler Melms, William Melms and Oliver Litchfield.
About the department
In addition to the department’s 32 volunteer firefighters and support members, it has a paid staff of three that includes Chief Cassou, Administrative Secretary Karrie White and Chopper Munoz, facilities manager and mechanic.
Johnny Mansell, Andy Ryback and Mike Taborski are the fire district’s three commissioners.
The department is always looking for volunteers to become firefighters or a member of the support team. Chief Cassou encourages anyone interested in learning how to become a part of this family to talk to him or with one of the department’s other volunteers or staff.