Fire Chief Blazed Trails For Christopher-Kohl's

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Ray Larsen resigned as fire chief for the Christopher-Kohl's Fire Department Sept. 15 after more than five years of service as chief.

During the time Ray was chief, he worked hard to update the department's resources and equipment to reflect the needs of the department and community. He also was instrumental in increasing the department's service area, bringing in many small communities under one umbrella of fire and emergency services.

He knew how to cut the red tape with government services as he did when he made a trip to the Capitol. After 18 months, when no one else was able to complete the process of getting Zane Grey Estates into the district, that trip ended the problems.

On calls, Ray was always steps ahead of everyone else, making sure you were safe as you did your job, had the equipment you needed and all other necessary support services were taken care of. He also cared about you, checking to see that you were OK after the call was over, helping anytime you needed it. Ray also cared about the department and the volunteers. He taught twice-monthly training sessions on his days off.

Ray also cared about this community. During fire season, he patrolled the district and the forest that borders us for fire dangers, often working into late hours. He reduced the call rate by more than a third by taking care of service calls himself.

Ray will be the first to admit that paperwork was not his favorite part of the job, (but he) was good at raising money for the department. Whenever he'd help someone out, and they'd ask what they could do, he'd always say make a donation to the department and he'd come back with a check in hand.

He had also completed over one year of requirements necessary to (lower the district's fire insurance rating). With all the other duties, he still managed to get a fire station built in the Colcord area.

Somehow, he talked his wife, Margie, into working in the business office (to fill a vacancy). Margie jumped into the fray, getting the backlog back on track. She even found a Department of Health Services grant application that had expired. She explained the problems to DHS and they extended the deadline. Margie wrote and received a $2,000 grant for the department. She also put a new computer online to improve the department's efficiency.

Thank you, Ray and Margie, for your service to the community you care so much about. May all good things come to good people.

Pam and Mel Milhon, Payson

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