The California Rural Fire Protection District annual dinner was held Saturday, Feb. 23, with several firefighters and board members braving the weather to be present to receive awards.
The dinner, held at Rural Fire Station No. 1, consisted of barbecued meat, beans, shredded potatoes, cole slaw and dessert. The meal began at 6:30 p.m. with the awards presented afterwards by Chris Clifford.
Presented with five-year firefighter awards were Sarah Hagemeyer and Bridget Clifford. Glenn Bayne was presented with a 10-year service award and David "Blue" Geier was presented with a 30-year award.
The surprised recipient of a special award was Ed Bleich who is leaving the district's board of directors after the next election. Although the plaque presented to Bleich was for service to the fire protection district since 1999, his rural fire service to the community is much farther back.
Prior to the organization of the California Rural Fire Protection District, the county volunteer firefighters were with the California Rural Fire Association. Bleich was elected to the board of directors of that organization in 1965. He became a firefighter in 1977. He also served as rural fire chief for a number of years.