Tecolote Auxiliary and the La Madera Fire Station

PROFILE OF OUR FIRE CHIEF JOE GOBER

 District Fire Chief Joe Gober is an EAST MOUNTAIN MAN.  Moving with his parents to the East Mountains in 1963, Joe attended San Antonito Elementary School and Roosevelt Middle School. He graduated in 1970 from Manzano High School.  Joe and his wife continue to live in the East Mountains on Frost Road.  

    After some 22 years with the Bernalillo County Fire Department (BCFD), Joe retired as the District Chief responsible for 3 fire stations and 35 volunteers who were cross-trained as Firefighters/EMT's.  Joe has devoted the last 20 years, since 1999, to building the La Madera Volunteer Fire Department (District).  With his experience, his knowledge of firefighting/emergency medical services, his administrative and political savvy, Joe has integrated La Madera VFD into the larger Sandoval County community.  This has been vital for tapping into the resources necessary to build our department's expertise.  

    Joe has style. HERE'S WHAT JOE SAYS:  "Give them the idea(s) and then stand back out of the way and watch how they work it forward;  making suggestions along the way to keep them on course."  "Don't tell, ask a volunteer, lead by example."  "The biggest challenge that I face is taking a group of individuals - volunteers - and making them CAPABLE, QUALIFIED AND CERTIFIED  to serve their community." Today, La Madera VFD has capable, qualified, certified Firefighters/EMTs that not only serve our communities but also are called upon to help other surrounding communities in their time of need.   

    HERE'S WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT JOE:  "Joe involves us in cross company training with other departments, like the Bernalillo County Fire Department, Village of Tijeras.  At the Cochiti Fire Department, the first question our guys are asked is "How is Joe?".  Another La Madera VFD firefighter says "There nobody I'd rather have at my back than Joe".       

    Joe's PROUDEST MOMENT was in 2016 when the ISO (Insurance Service Office) revisited and gave La Madera VFD a new Public Protection Classification of "5".  ISO rates fire departments on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst.  In order for a community fire department to obtain a grade better than 9, three elements of fire suppression are reviewed:  Communications (10 points), Fire Department (50 points) and Water Supply (40 points).  At this time, 60,000 gallons of water for firefighting are stored in tanks at the fire station.  These water tanks were a big help in reaching the "5" rating. Now, Joe's GOAL would be to have water tanks placed at strategic points throughout the community.  This would reduce the response time for filling the Tenders that are going out to fight the fires in the community.  

IT TAKES A FAMILY to support the Chief and the Volunteers. Joe's wife, Donna, continues on with family events when Joe misses the event because he's "on the fire line"; she helps to debrief the Chief after a bad call or meeting. Firefighting runs in the family. Joe's father was a firefighter with BCFD in the 1960's. Joe began as a Junior Firefighter in high school. Joe's son, Chris Gober, just retired as a BCFD Fire Marshal after serving some 27 years. Chris had the first dog trained to assist in investigating arson in Bernalillo County.

In politics and government, we say "Hail to the Chief". In the La Madera Volunteer Fire District, we say "THANKS TO THE CHIEF".