One Small Voice
by Laura McGaffey
Articles originally published in "The Voice in the Desert"
Sunsites-Pearce, Arizona

Sunsites-Pearce Fire District Update
January 2008

In 2004, I interviewed the candidates for the Sunsites-Pearce Fire District fire chief election and wrote a couple of articles related to the campaign. I backed Robert McWilliams for fire chief and Brenda Leon for secretary/treasurer, both of whom won the election. Since then I have not been involved in the Fire District. I think it is time for an update.

New Secretary/Treasurer

My husband and I started volunteering at the fire department three months ago. At the December 4, 2007 Cochise County Board of Supervisors meeting I was appointed to the unpaid position of Secretary/Treasurer of the Sunsites-Pearce Fire District Board and I was sworn in at the Board of Supervisors offices in Bisbee on December 11, 2007.

My husband and I moved here from San Jose, California in 2003. My husband lived in the San Francisco Bay Area all his life and my family moved there when I was thirteen. During our thirty-one years of marriage, we have always been involved in volunteerism. In 1977 we both became certified EMTs in California. We are both amateur radio operators. For a number of years we volunteered our services in both these and other areas to the San Jose, California Office of Emergency Services and we were members of San Jose Search and Rescue, an arm of the San Jose Fire Department. Subsequently, along with other members of San Jose Search and Rescue we incorporated a new, small fire department as well as its Search and Rescue division. This new department was also an entirely volunteer operation needed in a town adjacent to San Jose.

My husband was the medical training officer at both San Jose Search and Rescue and West Valley Search and Rescue. I was the public information officer and interfaced with the public as well as the other agencies in the area. While with San Jose Search and Rescue we interfaced with the Battalion Chiefs and other hierarchy on a regular basis to offer advice at fires, on search and rescue missions, and for daily department business.

We are electronics and computer engineers. We were blessed to live in the Silicon Valley during decades of extremely rapid advances in technology. It was an exciting time. We started and operated several businesses both together and individually and were fortunate to work with and for some of the best and the brightest in the emerging and growing worlds of personal computers, embedded systems, communications, aerospace and virtually every area where electronics is utilized.

I am looking forward to serving you as the secretary/treasurer of your Sunsites-Pearce Fire District. I hope you will come to the monthly District meetings and express your vision for the community and the Fire District’s role within it.

Always Training – Controlled Burn

The Sunsites-Pearce Fire District holds two drills every month. Generally, one is for structure fires and the other for wildland fires. Every so often, a landowner will ask us to execute a controlled burn of old structures on his or her property and the department will schedule the controlled burn for a drill day.

On November 17, 2007, the department executed a controlled burn in Sunizona. One of the department volunteer firefighters took dozens of photos. I have selected just a handful to offer to the editors of this paper to include as many as space will allow. Over a dozen volunteers contributed a day off to help a fellow community member raze old abandoned mobile homes and outbuildings standing idle on his property.

I would like to hear from you if you have any suggestions, questions, comments, or concerns about your Sunsites-Pearce Fire District. If you call the department during office hours at 520-826-3645 they can get a message to me and I will call you back as soon as possible.