The Hot Spot – April 2015

Remembering Bob Price

Remembering Bob Price

Sun Lakes Fire Board Members reflect on Bob Price’s legacy

Brian Curry

After a recent Sun Lakes Fire Board meeting, long time board members Forrest Kohler, Mike Sellers and Bob Price’s widow Diane reflected on Bob’s long service to the Sun Lakes community. Price was a long time fire board member himself until he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He died on Christmas Day.

In the case of Board Chairman Sellers, his friendship with Price goes back much further than their days on the fire board together and it started with another fire department. “I was actually Bob’s boss a long time ago when we were both firefighters in the Ventura (California) Fire Department.”

Though he has many memories of Bob’s younger days with Ventura, he laughed when he recalled one unusual event. “The building that housed our fire department radios burned down. Bob volunteered to climb a mountain and in effect became a human antenna relaying emergency radio transmissions for the next 36 hours.”

Sellers segued that into Price’s service in Sun Lakes. “He was always very technical, understood and enjoyed finding out the specifics of our radios, phones, medical supplies and equipment which was a great asset to have.”

Board member Forrest Kohler added to Seller’s comment. “His interest in the equipment was always there. If we were looking at a new engine or ambulance Bob was always the first one to jump in and take it for a test drive,” drawing a warm chuckle from the three of them.

Kohler said that Price, because of his experience as a firefighter, was able to easily transit the roles of being management as a fire board member, but at the same time understood the union’s concerns and positions. “He was very fiscal minded, certainly not a rubber stamp and took each of his assignments seriously.”

Both Sellers and Kohler agreed that the Sun Lakes Fire Department is different than in its earlier days due in no small part to Price’s tenure on the board. “It’s professional and it’s accountable, a fire department to be proud of, ”Diane Price emphasized, proud of her husband’s contributions. The SLFD obviously felt the same way dedicating their ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to him in a sign of firematic brotherhood.

When Bob Price fell ill he was replaced by Jane Watkins. When Watkins chose not to run for re-election, Diane decided to run to carry on Bob’s work. In addition to what Kohler and Sellers had said, Price added, “He was so proud of the Community Assistance Program, he was a strong supporter of what they do in this community.”

In short, Bob Price’s dedication and service to the Sun Lakes community will be missed.

Fire Department presents flag to SLUMC Pastor

Sun Lakes Fire Department Chief Paul Wilson and his fire crews present an American flag to Sun Lakes Methodist church Pastor Jim O’Neal and his staff in recognition of the generosity and fellowship the church has given to the Fire Department over the years. The Methodist church has hosted fire board meetings, promotional interviews and exams in a spirit of true friendship. (Photo by Brian Curry)

Sun Lakes firefighters AJ Beadle (left), Capt. Mike Molite and Engr. Rich Vezzosi with the three bicyclists who are traveling our country.

Sun Lakes firefighters AJ Beadle (left), Capt. Mike Molite and Engr. Rich Vezzosi with the three bicyclists who are traveling our country.

SLFD hosts cross county bikers

Brian Curry

The crew at SLFD’s Station Two were getting ready to settle down for a late dinner when the firehouse doorbell rang.

At the station door were three young bicyclists who were basically traveling across the United States. These three adventurers had started in June of 2014 logging well over 8,500 miles traveled.

Their request was simple. They asked if they could pitch a tent in the back of the station on Alma School Road. Captain Mike Molite said that he would have to get the approval of the Battalion Chief Steve McCoy.

After consulting the department’s policy manual it was decided reluctantly that they would not be able to let them camp at the station, but the SLFD crew said they would put them up at the nearby Holiday Inn instead.

The three weary travelers were beyond grateful and did not know how to say yes to the firefighters’ offer. In complete disbelief they were stunned by station two crew’s generosity.

Using their union collected SLERFF funds, the firefighters paid for their night’s lodging and on the way to the hotel stopped at McDonald’s and purchased them a dinner for the night and a gift card for a future meal out of their own money.

The following morning the hotel staff took care of them with a good hot breakfast and then they stopped by again at Station Two but this time to thank Capt. Molite and his crew for their generosity and welcome.

After many nights sleeping with nature or by the side of the road they told the firefighters that it was so nice to sleep in a soft bed, have a hot shower and eat a delicious breakfast.

After a few warm goodbyes the three adventurers pedaled off hoping to make it by Casa Grande by nightfall.

You can follow their cross-country trip at

CBS reporter Laura Malpert interviews SLFD CAP member Nancy Roberts about the flash drive program.

CBS reporter Laura Malpert interviews SLFD CAP member Nancy Roberts about the flash drive program.

SLFD and CAP interviewed by local news about Flash Drive Program