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Escalon Fire Department Offers Thanks To Rickman
Fire board 12-13
Members of the Escalon Fire Board, along with fire personnel on duty at the station on Thursday, Dec. 7 join with Fire Chief Rick Mello, center, and County Supervisor Robert Rickman, far right, at the board’s monthly meeting for December, which also included a holiday luncheon. Supervisor Rickman serves as chair of the county board and helped secure some grant funds for Escalon Fire. Marg Jackson/The Times

It’s the season of giving and Escalon Fire Department officials were giving thanks for a couple of reasons this past week.

First, they recognized the efforts of San Joaquin County Supervisor Robert Rickman, who represents Escalon in District 5, for helping secure grant funding for the department. And the members of the Escalon Fire Board announced the signing of a new contract with current Fire Chief Rick Mello, keeping him on the job.

Rickman, who also serves as Chairman of the county board, said he was honored to assist the department in securing grant funds.

“Public safety is always a top priority, for me and the Board of Supervisors,” Rickman, a former CHP officer – recently retired – told the board and firefighters attending the meeting. “I’m glad I was able to help out with funding. I know the work that you guys do protecting our community and it goes beyond Escalon, to the outlying communities.”

Mello said with Rickman’s support, the department received over $507,000 in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding, with $287,000 in grant funds for SCBA, breathing apparatus systems; $79,859 for an SCBA filling station; and up to $139,490 for a solar project at Station 1 on Coley Avenue.

“We also received up to $188,733.91 for new portable radios, with our matching funds offset by ARPA monies,” Mello said. “We will also be receiving ten new mobile radios at a cost of approximately $120,000 with all funds offset by homeland security and other funding via San Joaquin County.”

Altogether, said Mello, the department is the beneficiary of nearly $816,000 in grants with no District funds expended.

Rickman asked the department to continue seeking assistance, vowing to help in any way possible.

“Thank you for the job you do,” he said.

Fire board chairman Joe Camara indicated the board had also approved a five-year extension with Chief Mello.

“This was one of the easier ones,” Camara said of the contract negotiations. “Rick’s been doing an excellent job for us through the years.”

Board member Jason Koops echoed the thought.

“You do a great job,” Koops told Mello. “We’re glad to have you.”

Mello, appreciative of the kudos from the board, went on to provide some brief remarks as part of the regular agenda.

He said the Escalon United Methodist Church Women had made a $100 donation to the department from a soup and salad luncheon they hosted, while the incident report for November showed the department responding to 101 calls that month, up to 1,109 for the year.

Also, he reported, the McDonald’s restaurant on McHenry had its final walk throughs completed on Dec. 5 and was approved to open for business on Dec. 9.

The fire board regularly meets the second Thursday of the month and members of the board are Joe Camara, Jason Koops, Mickey Schilber, Zach Hogan and Steven Gregg.

Rickman shirt 12-13
Displaying a new Escalon Fire Department shirt he was presented with on Thursday is San Joaquin County Supervisor Robert Rickman, as Escalon Fire Chief Rick Mello, left, looks on. Rickman was invited to the Dec. 7 fire board meeting and holiday luncheon as a thank you for helping secure grant money for the local fire department. Marg Jackson/The Times