Santa Paula Times

Andy VanSciver again honored as Santa Paula Kiwanis Firefighter of the Year

September 25, 2013
Santa Paula News

For the second time, Santa Paula Firefighter Andy VanSciver AKA “Radar” has been honored as one of the Kiwanis Clubs of Ventura County’s Firefighters of the Year. 

VanSciver received his honor at the September 13 awards banquet held at the Sheraton Four Seasons, where firefighters from throughout Ventura County were honored for their public safety efforts, including another Santa Paula resident, Oxnard City Fire Inspector Chad Carroll. 

Each year Ventura County Kiwanis Clubs hold the Fire Services and Heroes Celebration and Santa Paula Kiwanis Club President Dan Robles took part in honoring VanSciver.

Santa Paula Fire Chief Rick Araiza said there are a number of reasons why VanSciver was selected, including, “Andy is an extremely special individual. I can’t even begin to tell you everything he does on a daily basis, and because of that our firefighters voted him Firefighter of the Year. He’s been here five years and he’s been voted Firefighter of the Year for two years now.

“He is a reserve firefighter,” said Araiza, “but what is so unique about Andy is that he is also publisher of Fire Chief magazine. So he knows an extremely large number of people in the fire service.” 

On May 9, 2013, Araiza and VanSciver were together in Washington, D.C., to attend the 25th Annual Congressional Fire Service Institute dinner, where Vice President Joe Biden was the featured speaker. 

Araiza said that at the Washington dinner, “Andy just happened to know almost everybody. It was pretty great to sit at the table and have so many people come up to talk with Andy.”

When describing all of the reasons why VanSciver was chosen as Firefighter of the Year, Araiza said, “He helped this year with ISO ratings using his spare time, he is also president of the Santa Paula Firefighters Association; he handles our Association golf tournament, which will take place October 19, he’s on our training committee, he heads our barbeque team ... the community is just blessed because of Andy,” whose work has contributed to the $45,000 raised to benefit various organizations ranging from the Future Farmers of America to the Santa Paula High School Band.

Araiza explained that the firefighters association could only do this because “Andy puts on this golf tournament, and we use the funds raised at the tournament to help other organizations raise money through a barbeque, where the firefighters association pays for all the food. That way all ticket sales for the barbeque dinners is 100 percent profit for these organizations.”

Araiza explained that the Santa Paula Police Department was having a problem with their communications system: “The police saw what Andy was doing for us, and the police chief said, ‘May I borrow him?’ Andy now does police and fire communications for the city,” and also works with Ventura County on their communications after observing that VanSciver “made Santa Paula communications what it is today. 

Araiza said the SPFD, “had a problem with our mobile light-and-air trailer, and we were having difficulties getting it resolved. We talked with Andy to see if he knew anybody to help, and the next day we received a phone call from the president of Scott saying that they will replace our light-and-air.”

The incident is just one that demonstrates how VanSciver was nicknamed Radar, based on the character in “Mash” because of his uncanny ability to obtain anything needed by his medical unit based in war-torn Korea. 

“That’s an example of the products and services we get from Andy. It’s one of those things where if you need something, Andy goes and gets it.... but these aren’t the only reasons Andy is Santa Paula’s Firefighter of the Year.” 

Araiza said the Santa Paula Firefighters Association “Has recognized what a talented individual this person is. Since Andy joined, our department has been blessed. Our budget is about $2.4 million, and not only has Andy helped with grants, his wife, Marleen Canniff, got more than a million dollars for the department just in grants alone, funding that goes far to supplement our tight budget.”