Of Cabbages and Kings
Bruce Holloway has been for Spokane County District 3 Fire Chief for 22 years. He did not dream of being a fireman as a small boy. He wanted to be a farmer. As he grew up he worked on other people's ranches and then on his own. Holloway said, "I loved it. It gave me a good background."
In a little town in California, Holloway joined a fire department to help the community. He said, "About a year later the fire chief got in trouble and I was appointed fire chief. I was still farming. I had my own farm, raising beef cattle. I grew my own hay, grain, beans and other crops."
Holloway quit farming and became an agriculture teacher at Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco for one year. He said, "I started looking for fire departments. I found one at Burbank, across from Pasco. I got a job at Worley, Idaho as fire chief for three years. Then I was fire chief at Moses Lake for 11 years." Holloway affirms, "I like people. I came to Cheney in 1992 and will retire this year."
During those 22 years, Holloway said, "We made lots of changes. We built nine new stations and rebuilt one. This district incorporates 565 square miles. That's one-third of Spokane County. We have 10 stations now and more than 125 personnel in the area. In 20 years we have replaced and built almost all of our fire trucks. We have one more to do. It's 30 years old and has been maintained in good shape."
Holloway mentions how they worked as a team, all pitching in to help, and calls himself the facilitator. He said, "With 120 volunteers who have jobs in other areas, we've used the skills they've learned in their other jobs to help with the progress we've made here. We've saved 30 percent of the cost in building our own fire trucks and fire stations."
The district's training center, a more recent addition on display in a nearby field, can be seen by all who pass by on State Route 904 or Presley Drive. The firemen practice working with real fires in buildings and cars. Holloway said, "We'll build a class room and props to use with it. We built a majority of the training center ourselves."
As long-time District 3 Fire Chief, Holloway said, "I've enjoyed my 22 years. I've raised my kids here. I'll probably volunteer some." He's anticipating seeing his grandchildren. Some of them live in places farther away.
You deserve a rest, Bruce Holloway. Your leadership has brought outstanding achievements to Cheney. Thank you.
Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.