Santa Paula Times

SPFD Captain Byrum lauded as Chamber’s Public Safety Officer of the Quarter

March 17, 2010
Santa Paula News

The Chamber of Commerce honored one of Santa Paula’s favorite firefighters as the Public Safety Officer of the Quarter at the March Good Morning Santa Paula! 

The Chamber-sponsored breakfast meeting was held at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport.

Fire Chief Rick Araiza said he didn’t have any notes concerning honoree Captain Jerry Byrum, “as I’ve known Jerry all my life!” Araiza first met Byrum when he was a Mupu School student and “star basketball player” being coached by the chief’s brother. A star athlete, Byrum also played varsity football at Santa Paula High School.

“Right after Jerry graduated from high school he aspired to be a firefighter,” and he became a SPFD volunteer. “He started around the station; Jerry had firefighting in his blood,” an interest and commitment that Araiza said led to Byrum becoming one of the department’s first full-time firefighters in 1995.

Hired as an engineer, “since then he’s moved up to captain at Station 81,” where he runs a three-person firefighting crew, “sometimes four with reserves.” Araiza said Byrum is also the SPFD’s “IT person; he handles our website, our radios, anything around the station” that requires electronic and/or computer expertise. “On top of that he’s a woodworker,” Araiza said, who created cabinets and tie-downs for the engine to safety store two sets of Jaws of Life received by the department through a “nice grant.” 

Each year Byrum creates a DVD on the department and its personnel for the joint SPFD and Santa Paula Police Department Christmas & Awards Dinner. “Police and fire have this very friendly thing... and during the awards Jerry’s our man to poke fun at the police and they poke fun at us!” Araiza noted Byrum’s talents are so outstanding he should consider filmmaking as a career.

Married to Devora, with two children, Araiza noted Byrum is a Santa Paula native whose “parents are still here in town.” Overall, Byrum “does everything around the station... last quarter he stepped up” and restored the SPFD radio system while the department awaits new grant-funded communications equipment. “We’re in good shape because of Jerry,” and Araiza said he more than deserves the honor bestowed by the Chamber.

“I had no idea,” said Byrum, “the chief knew so much about me!” It’s an honor “to be recognized for doing my job... I joined the department 23 years ago to serve the community.... It’s nice to be recognized by the community now and then,” but, noted Byrum, “I’m just doing my job.”

“Another pillar of the community is public safety,” said John Chamberlain, moderator of Good Morning Santa Paula! Public safety is vitally important to the community, and Chamberlain said the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation “are doing great things” with money raised to benefit the departments.

John Macik/Santa Paula Chevrolet provides the Chamber monthly award plaques.