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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Monday, June 27, 2011

Camp Meeker Beat - July 2011

I’m going to take a wild guess that you are reading this as the summer evening turns to dusk on the beach in Monte Rio as you wait for the fireworks  to start.  If you aren’t, you should be – it’s a blast!  I know Monte Rio is not my beat, but Camp Meeker doesn’t have a fireworks show, and there’s no better  place to be on Saturday night but that fireworks show put on by the Monte Rio VFD.

And speaking of the VFD…that’s what I’m going to write about this month.  I know they’ve been topic one for the last few months, but Camp Meeker doesn’t have any businesses for me to flack for,  there haven’t been any new sewer developments for a couple of years, and you pinners can’t come up with any juicy sex scandals for me.  So… VFD it is!

I kid, I kid. There is plenty of hard news at the VFD.  First of all, we have a new chief!  The well-deserved promotion goes to assistant chief Tim Williams.  Tim is a 32 year veteran of the Camp Meeker VFD, so it’s a fair guess he will hit the ground running.  Congratulations, Tim!

Congratulations are also due the VFD as a whole, for putting on a record-setting pancake breakfast last month.  Our firefighters served up 412 breakfasts, with 142 of those breakfasts from pre-sold tickets.  Way to show your support, people!  More congratulations to the winners of the big ticket prizes at the raffle:   Keith Nelson won the grand prize, a sightseeing flight in a 1954 Cessna Businessliner donated by Marvin Young.  Next, Bill and Doris Wright won a Balleto Vineyards wine tasting for 4, plus two bottles of Balleto wine.  The third big prize was a handmade quilt donated by Jessie Desmitt: Dan Andrews was the lucky winner there.

I know what you’re thinking:  you’re thinking “man, the VFD is for me!  How do I become a part of this elite team!  Well shoot, you can start by checking out their flashy new website at!  Someone with a crisp set of web skills put it together, so enjoy!  

Now you KNOW you want to join up.  Maybe you want to make a career of firefighting and want to gain some useful experience.  Maybe you just want to pitch in and help your community.  I spoke to outgoing chief Fred Meyer and got the skinny for you:
Firefighters need to be 18 years old.  There is no specific physical test, but you should be in good enough shape to handle the job.  You will need to take a general physical, with drug screening. Once you pass the physical, the training starts. Sonoma County has training requirements for volunteer firefighters, and the training is provided by the Camp Meeker VFD.  If you apply yourself with diligence and complete the training, you’re in!   

Once you’re in, here are the ongoing duties: the VFD trains every Thursday from 7:30 to 10:30 pm.  You need to be available most Thursdays for weekly drills, and ready to get dressed in a hurry when the siren goes off if you’re here.  If (like most of us) you have a day job, you can’t be around for EVERY call. 
This is a serious commitment, so use your best judgment to decide if you have the right stuff.  If you do, there are rich rewards.  There is the satisfaction of knowing you are helping your community, the camaraderie of your fellow firefighters, the pleasure of helping to put on the pancake breakfast and the spaghetti dinner every year, and the potluck dinners every time there is a fifth Thursday in the month.  The big decisions are made by the CMVFD Board of directors, who meet every first Thursday.

So there you have it what it takes to be a member of the Camp Meeker VFD.    Once again, check out  for the specifics.  I’ll be bringing you further updates in future columns – but wait!  The fireworks are about to start!  Put me away and get ready to Oooh! And Aaah!