The California Rural Fire Protection District annual dinner was held Saturday, March 1, with about 30 firefighters, board members and guests braving the threat of snow and sleet.
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 Fire Chief Steve Walters.
Firefighter Steve Pate was presented with a five-year award and Bruce Longan, a 25-year award.
The surprised recipient of a special gift was Ed Bleich. Although how long he actually was associated with California Rural, as fire fighter, fire chief and fire district board member is an unanswered question, he was credited with 38 years. Last year, Bleich was recipient of a plaque for service to the fire district since 1999. But before California Rural Fire Protection District was organized, the county volunteer firefighters were with the California Rural Fire Association.
This year, Board Secretary Shelley Hampton presented him with a "gift he can actually use" a multitool. He was asked to think of the fire district everytime he uses the gift.
The district has grown over the years to five fire houses and 17 pieces if fire fighting equipment, including a Pierce pumper/tanker.