“I never had trouble getting a fire job, given my exposure, training and experience in Mosquito,” says Chris Dillender, a volunteer firefighter here since 2000. When he moved here in 1999, he regularly saw We Need Firefighters signage and postings and decided to check it out. “Becoming a Mosquito volunteer firefighter completely changed my life and created a career path for me in the fire service.”
Chris became a paid firefighter in Galt in 2005, has worked as a Rescue Technician for the State of California for 6 years, has served as a Technical Rescue Expert for Power Generation in PG&E, and is currently serving as a Fire Captain on a type 6 engine for PG&E. While advancing through the fire service, Chris has remained a Mosquito Volunteer Firefighter.
He is one of the two mainstays that respond to emergency calls after regular station hours. Over time, he believes he has responded to over a thousand calls, being there when neighbors are most in need of support. But Chris reminds us that volunteering is much more than responding to calls. “As a volunteer, you are part of a brotherhood with a strong sense of community. We don’t judge people and, even when there are problems, we pull together because we share the belief that everyone should pitch in to help in their community.”
Dillender is coordinating the Explorers Program for the District. That program supports and encourages 14-18 year olds in the community to test their potential interest in serving the community through the fire service. Chris’s willingness to commit to training cadres of young people in the community flows from a simple premise, “You have to get in kids’ heads how valuable fire service can be as a career opportunity.”
What does he see as his future? “I’ll be here in Mosquito forever.” And he dreams of a Mosquito with everyone working together, people who care and do, folks putting up the good fight for the community. In its simplest form, he envisions the firefighters holding an event with no hassles and full participation.
Chris, thanks for all you have done and all that you continue to do. We are a better community and Fire District as a result of your efforts