SILETZ — Siletz Valley Fire District said “farewell” to Chief RC Mock on July 31, when he left his position to take up the responsibilities of Battalion Chief at Sheridan Fire District. His legacy at the east county includes a strong relationship between the district and the community it serves, as well as numerous improvements achieved through grants.
Mock began his tenure at Siletz Valley Fire District as a staff captain before he was promoted and became the youngest fire chief in Oregon. He has served Siletz area residents as their fire chief for five years. In that time, he wrote a number of grants which garnered the district a number of improvements to both equipment and the main fire station.
“Chief Mock was able to bring Siletz Fire into the modern era through his grant writing skills,” said Blake Wisham, Siletz Valley’s training coordinator. “Recognizing the need for Siletz to grow and become more versatile, he was able to obtain grants for multiple disciplines within the fire service including fire engines, water tender apparatus, life safety equipment, water rescue vessels, wildland gear, training materials and a safe place to store it all in our seismically upgraded fire station.”
Other achievements by Mock during his time as chief: he set up a trailer for Lincoln County to deploy during conflagrations. The trailer carries hand tools, supplies, communication equipment and other essential gear for the wildland interface. He established a good rapport with the Siletz Tribe and increased a grant by $35,000 yearly for staffing; and he was able to obtain funding for two new jet skis which will be utilized by the water rescue team.
“If grant writing wasn’t enough, he has increased moral among our members, not only at Siletz but countywide with all the combination departments and a great team unity through training with other agencies,” said Wisham. “Chief Mock had a vision of delivering professional service through goals and standards for Siletz Fire, and not only excelled at completing these goals, he did it with the mindset of, what is best for my local Fire District and community, not what is best for himself.”
As for Mock, himself, leaving Siletz is bittersweet.
“I am so proud of where the organization is at today, how hard everyone has worked to get us here … I was in the right place at the right time,” said Mock. “Personally, I think my time with Siletz Fire was one that I will remember and appreciate for the rest of my life. There are some special people there and I am sure the next fire chief will be amazed by the great group of first responders he gets to serve with.”
Wisham told the News-Times that the district has reached out to the Special Districts Association of Oregon for assistance in recruiting a new chief who is just the right fit for Siletz.
“We can never replace Chief Mock,” said Wisham, “but we can use his attributes as a compass to help guide us in finding a great fire chief.”