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A changing of the guard for Fire District's volunteer board posted on 01/01/2022

After nine years of serving as the president for Hoodland Fire District’s (HFD) Volunteer Board Association (VBA), Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Nick Miller is stepping down from his role with the board. Miller will be succeeded as president of the VBA by Firefighter/EMT Dawson Kooch, station manager at the Government Camp Station.

“My life has gotten busier,” Miller said. “I like to stay engaged as much as possible, but don’t currently have the time the position deserves.”

Miller, the owner of Cascade Yard Works in Zigzag, began volunteering at Hoodland Fire District in 2001 and has since earned his firefighter, emergency medical responder (EMR) and EMT certifications. During his 20 years with the district, he has received awards for Firefighter of the Year, Medical Responder of the Year and the Fire Chief's Award: Above and Beyond. He will continue serving as an active-duty firefighter/EMT volunteer responder for the district and will remain on the board as the sergeant at arms for the organization.

The VBA held the vote for new officers on Dec. 14 and new officers were announced at a meeting on Dec. 15 at the main station in Welches. Other board officers elected are Vice President Firefighter/EMT Brandon Bergeron, Treasurer Lisa Kline, and Secretaries Sally Chester and Debra Sinz.

The volunteer board is a not-for-profit organization that promotes community outreach and fundraising activities for the fire district, a combination district comprised of paid staff and volunteers providing emergency response for the mountain communities.

Kooch joined the district in 2018 after participating in Gresham Fire District's Cadet Program. He has received his firefighter and EMR certifications as well as his EMT rating. Kooch recently received commendations for his service during a 17-day deployment at the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon and has taken part in seven wildland deployments.

A recent remodel of the Government Camp Station, where Kooch is the station manager, made it possible for HFD to maintain volunteers on site in a residency program. The proximity of agency responders to a potential fire in the community contributed to the reduction of the ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating from 10 to 4 for properties in the area.

“(This role) is a new way of taking responsibility. I got a lot of support from members urging me to pursue the position,” Kooch said. “The responsibilities are definitely keeping me very busy. We have the Government Camp station staffed 95 percent of the time.”

Kooch’s priorities for the VBA include continuing the organization’s mission of public outreach, encouraging public involvement and awareness of HFD’s role in the community, promoting recognition for HFD member’s achievements and revitalizing fundraising efforts.

Both Miller and Kooch underlined the important role volunteers play in assuring safety and emergency response in the fire district and encourage public involvement.

“Some members of the community don’t realize the volunteer opportunities with HFD,” Miller said.

For more information regarding volunteer opportunities with HFD contact the district at hoodland@hoodlandfire.org or 503-622-3256.

By Ben Simpson/MT

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