Santa Paula Fire Captain Jerry Byrum

Chamber honors SPFD’s Byrum as Public
Safety Officer of the Quarter

June 13, 2014
Santa Paula News

The Chamber of Commerce’s Public Safety Officer of the Quarter was honored at the May Good Morning Santa Paula breakfast meeting where Santa Paula Fire Captain Jerry Byrum was lauded.

“It seems like I’ve known Jerry all my life,” said Fire Chief Rick Araiza. “I remember talking to Jerry,” when he was an 8th Grade student at Isbell Middle School, and Araiza was chaperoning an event.

Araiza said Byrum, a native of Santa Paula who graduated from area schools, is “almost like a son to me... “

Byrum joined the SPFD as a reserve “Right after Santa Paula High School” in 1988 and served in the volunteer capacity while attending the fire academy and Ventura Community College.  

“Jerry was one of the first we hired in 1995 when we started staffing full-time... the department is coming up on 20 years full-time, a real transition and Jerry was right on top of that, he has grown along with the department and taken on many, many obligations.”

That includes marriage to Devora and children Dylan and Katelynn, now high school students.

“Jerry, for the last quarter, has taken on being our training officer,” duty that “has taken on a whole new approach... Jerry has to track every moment we’re training,” fulltime firefighters as well as reserves.

Araiza said a meeting was recently held that featured a discussion on fire training over the past decade and the tremendous changes it has undergone.

The status of reserve firefighters is ever changing: Araiza noted, “Basically, our reserves are younger individuals that want to be fulltime firefighters,” who after graduating from the fire academy join the Santa Paula Fire Department.

And, after receiving extensive training at the SPFD, such reserves “move on,” to fulltime jobs; since 2007 Araiza said 145 such reserves have moved through the SPFD.

“Everyday is a training day to us and going on to fires,” medical calls and other duties that must be handled by the fire department.

Byrum, said Araiza, “Does a tremendous job at all of that... and on top of that we just purchased a new fire engine and Jerry took that on,” forming a committee that worked on specifications and research for more than a year to get the most bang for the city’s buck.

Such work, said Araiza, just reinforces Byrum’s “commitment to the Santa Paula community,” that he balances with regular appearances of the Cruise Knights, a band that Byrum performs with.

“I’m actually humbled to be here this morning,” said Byrum, who noted “I always say when I get an award it feels weird,” to be lauded for not only doing his job but also for doing a job “I love... I’m very happy and pleased to be with the Santa Paula Fire Department and live in Santa Paula.

“It’s a pleasure to go to work each day and try to make a difference,” and Byrum thanked his engine company, as “They keep me sane when I come to work. I thank you too,” as well as the community and, “I hope I have many more years to come with the department... and I’ll try to make a difference everyday.”

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