Mike Sellers, an 18-year icon of the Sun Lakes Fire District Board of Directors, has stepped down from a lifetime of public fire service on the fire board.
His accomplishments during his long tenure with all but one year as the chairman of the board of directors are numerous. But he is unanimously thought of as the guiding force of taking the Sun Lakes fire district into the 21st century and forging a path for the future in all firematic categories.
Sellers, who joined the Ventura County, California, fire department in 1952 as a professional firefighter, retired as Deputy Chief in 1986 having overseen a phenomenal amount of growth in that department.
Moving to Sun Lakes in 1992, he became aware of needed guidance and leadership that the SLFD was lacking at the fireboard level. He ran for election to the fireboard in 1998 and was elected. At his very first meeting, he was elected to be Chairman, a post he held until voluntarily stepping down from the chairmanship earlier this year.
His primary concern right from the beginning was to assist the administration’s securing the proper funding to bring the fire district up to date with an eye toward future stability.
Sellers always understood the importance of the proper equipment and training for firefighters to assure Sun Lakes residents that their fire district was prepared to fight fires, as well as their emergency medical personnel having up-to-date medical equipment.
Even in this past year with the “merger” of the Sun Lakes fire district with the North County fire district into the joint Arizona Fire and Medical Authority happening, Sellers offered his leadership and expertise and did not resign from the board until the AFMA officially started on July 1.
Accolades came pouring in at a get-together at Station One (a station that he had a large part in replacing and paying off in three years) to wish him well upon his leaving the board. Fellow board member Diane Price said this: “Mike will always have the heart and soul of a firefighter. It was an important part of his life. The Sun Lakes district is a much better place due to his involvement.”
AFMA Assistant Chief Troy Maloney remarked, “Chairman Sellers was a great leader and mentor to me. He will be missed, and I wish him the best in his retirement.”
When Mike Sellers first came on board, the SLFD had problem retaining firefighters and medics. During his tenure, the SLFD has firefighters who have worked their entire career and have retired from Sun Lakes. When an opening in the ranks becomes available now, lines form for an application.
Mike Sellers’ firematic legacy in Sun Lakes will be cemented with this fact that will probably be the most important to the taxpayers of the district. Out of 48,855 fire departments/districts in the country, only 917 have been able to obtain the hard-to-be-awarded and sought-after “Class 2 ISO” rating. This insurance rating places the SLFD department in the top 2% of fire districts in the country.