Fire district board candidate Donna Wickerd

ALL candidates are invited to submit their ideas and plans for the fire district and why we should vote for them.

Donna Wickerd’s (Dolan Springs) campaign statement:

The Lake Mohave Fire District (LMRFD) is solvent but barely operating, due to lack of full-time employees. They must feel as if they are holding onto a life raft that is destined to break against the rocks, and frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t all jumped ship. A very few of them have shown loyalty by sticking with us and I think we need to recognize them and reward them for that! The communities of Dolan Springs and Meadview do have a long hard road ahead of us to rebuild, but the situation is by no means hopeless. I have given our issues a lot of thought and come up with some creative solutions, that I can implement as an elected board member. I would like to share a few of them here with you today, and I look forward to sharing more of them with you in person at the various Meet & Greets that are being scheduled in our communities over the next few months.

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Donna Wickerd. I have been a resident and voter in Dolan Springs for 20 years. At 42, I have spent almost half my life in this community, and have deep roots in Mohave County. I care about my community, both the people who live here permanently and the people who pass through. I have a B.S. degree in Business, and was trained as a business analyst. I also have an M. Ed in Secondary Education. I was a teacher at Mt Tipton School for eight years and would still be happily employed there if not for our high school being closed. I fought for three years to keep our school from closing, sacrificing my personal life and opening my professional reputation to all kinds of nasty gossip and slander for the sake of our children, and now I find myself in a similar situation today.

Over three years ago, when our county supervisor (Joy Brotherton) told us the county was taking over LMRFD, I asked her what I could do, personally, to support the continued independence of our fire district. She told me the best choice for our community was to wait until the debts had been paid off before trying to do anything directly and immediately. But once our debts were paid off, the county supervisors and several other people had already planned our consolidation with Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District (NACFD). I immediately questioned the need for consolidation, and teamed up with my former partner in the KUSD-Mt Tipton fiasco to find the answer to my questions.

After hours and hours of tedious research, we discovered several issues facing NACFD that even some of their board members were unaware of. Without going into specifics, the information we dug up convinced two NACFD board members that 1. There are people in our community with the ability and interest to manage our fire district and 2. That NACFD had already expanded so much that their chief was overwhelmed, so that consolidating with us would only make their own problems worse. That simple fact is proof that consolidation was not, and is not, the best for option LMRFD at this time. If Chief Moore can’t successfully manage the districts that have already consolidated with NACFD, how can he be expected to effectively manage yet another district as vast and complicated as ours?

I was also against consolidation because I believe we can do more for ourselves than NACFD could ever do for us. Yes, it will take dedication and hard work, and careful vigilance of our bottom line. But I know we have enough funding to improve our emergency medical response, and we can use the money that comes in from medical calls to expand our firefighting capabilities as well.

Right now we run one ambulance, out of the main station in Dolan Springs, but we have another ambulance just sitting in the Meadview station taking up space. Every time a medical call comes in, and our primary ambulance is on a call, another company is called in to cover it. THAT IS MONEY LOST TO OUR DISTRICT! By simply hiring a driver with the minimum 40 hour training to drive the ambulance, our EMT/Paramedic in Meadview can respond to calls in that area and along Pierce Ferry road, earning money to support itself. If the community of Meadview were to expand by just another hundred properties, we could even afford to hire a second firefighter to fill that position. With two full-time firefighter paramedics and two full time firefighter EMTs we could respond more quickly and effectively to medical emergencies.

We also need volunteers! Not just volunteer firefighters, but emergency support personnel to run pumps, drive trucks and ambulances, maintain a secure perimeter and other support functions. That would free up our firefighters to ACTUALLY FIGHT FIRES!

Just as importantly, we need volunteer EMTs. If we can recruit just one EMT in every neighborhood, we could guarantee an emergency response of just a few minutes to everyone in our district, as well as those who live in our CON. The more people we train as EMTs, the more likely one will be available in your neighborhood to save your life! EMTs do not require the same physical fitness levels of firefighters and many of us could easily become first responders.

In the past, LMRFD has had an open door policy for walk-in emergencies. I have gone to them three times over the years for medical emergencies that did not rise to the level of an ambulance ride or emergency room visit, but needed immediate attention. Dave Estenson himself, as chief, cleaned out a wound on my son’s face when he was hardly more than a baby and didn’t charge me a dime for it. I want to return to the days when LMRFD was part of our community, and dedicated to serving it. The state of Arizona has a community paramedic program that allows our paramedics to treat local patients in certain situations, and as a board member I would research the program further and see if we could adopt it, not only to serve our community better, but also as another source of income for our fire district.

In addition, I have been working with Jean Bishop on some ideas on how the county can protect taxpayers by giving county fire districts some basic financial oversight. We both believe that there is a role for the county to support transparency and responsibility in financial management, without interfering in the independence of individual fire districts to create policies that work in their specific districts.

When you make your choice for Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District Board Member, please don’t vote for the candidate who believes we can’t make decisions for ourselves. Don’t vote for the candidate that thinks our fire district can never be successful on its own. Vote for the candidate who has a positive attitude about our community’s future, creative fact-based ideas to solve our problems, and a history of community service and activism! Vote for Donna Wickerd, for Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District Board!

If you would like to contact me personally, email me at dmwickerd@gmail.com

I would definitely vote for Donna if I was in the fire district.

Meadview candidate Steve Berg refuses to provide his vision for the fire district, likely because he doesn’t have one. Apparently he was fire chief in Meadview prior to the consolidation with Dolan Springs. He actually told me that he did NOT want me to join the fire district. Since he’s apparently unaware that the fire district ought to BEG residents to join because EVERY DOLLAR IS NEEDED TO CONTINUE TO OPERATE, he refuses to explain why he is running and where he stands on the issues, you definitely do NOT want to vote for Steve Berg — unless you want the fire district to dissolve.

Please remember that only the owners of properties IN the fire district can vote and MOST of Meadview is NOT in the fire district. I’ll put together a comprehensive FAQ when I have more time.

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