After 25 years of service, 15 of which were spent with the Tehama-Glenn Unit, Mickie Jakez is saying goodbye to CalFire. Her last day in the office was Wednesday.
"My retirement is going to give me the opportunity to spend more time with my family," Jakez said. "I thoroughly enjoy my job and it's going to be very difficult for me to say goodbye."
With six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, Jakez said she has no plans to move from her house in Anderson any time soon. "I'm going to miss my job, but I'm going to stay active," Jakez said. "I do plan to volunteer. Probably here at CalFire, the library and school programs and I'm very active in the Redding Emblem Club."
Jakez began her career with CalFire in the former Region II office in Redding in 1984 as an office assistant and was promoted from there to assistant business services officer.
fire prevention specialist serving as juvenile intervention officer counseling children who have started fires and their families.
Jakez has also worked as the Public Information Officer and spent a great deal of time working in the educational field teaching fire safety and prevention at schools as well as at community outreach events.
She was in charge of running the information center for the Tehama-Glenn Unit during major incidents, including the lightning series fires that rolled through the county in 2008.
"It's a 24-hour-a-day job," Jakez said of running the center. "My job (overall) has been a fun job with lots of rewards and I've been able to work with outstanding people."
Her favorite part, as a people person, she says is being able to spend her day talking with people and getting CalFire's messages of fire prevention and safety out to the public.
Outside of those from CalFire, Jakez said she has enjoyed working with the California Highway Patrol, Tehama County Sheriff's Department, District Attorney's Office, various news media and the Tehama District Fair Board.
"Mark Eidman at the fair has been very supportive of all the activities we've wanted to do at the fairground," she said.
Jakez headed up the Volunteers In Prevention program.
"[Jakez] built up a reliable team of Volunteers In Prevention who are a core group for fire information, ham radio support, school education programs and community outreach," said CalFire Director Del Walters in a letter.
Humble, Jakez attributes many of her accomplishments to her volunteers and community.
"I don't think I did anything anyone else wouldn't do," she said. "The Red Bluff residents and this community have been just so great. You ask for help and they are right there."
Walters said Jakez, her accomplishments and her innovative prevention projects, such as trading cards and career days, are known throughout the region.
"Your career with CalFire has been an accomplished one, which you should be proud of, and one that the people who work with you have enjoyed," Walters said.
Jakez received the 1986 Sustained Superior Accomplishment Award.
"She's a great lady and she has a fantastic program she developed," said Unit Chief Gary Durden. "She is a doer, but she doesn't want recognition."
Durden, Asst. Chief Chuck Schoendienst, who is Jakez' boss, and several others said she will be greatly missed.
"She doesn't like to be in the limelight," Schoendienst said. "The nice and reliable thing about her is she doesn't release things before she's supposed to. She's dependable."
Durden said Jakez is like an Energizer Bunny, who just keeps going and is always looking for ways to improve her programs.
"In my opinion, she's going to be very hard to replace and whoever replaces her is going to have very big shoes to fill," Durden said. "She's our go-to person. She just does everything."
Jakez was on the board involved in bringing Relay For Life to Red Bluff along with Durden, Rick Pound and June Morford.
Jakez spurs a lot of the community outreach projects CalFire does including work with the Salvation Army bell ringing and food drives, Durden said.
"Too often we focus on the flashy, high-flying, grandiose part of CalFire and we tend to forget that it takes everyone to make this car move," said Asst. Chief Dale Kinyon in an e-mail.
"Mickie has, for as long as I can remember, been maintaining and motivating, sometimes Shanghaiing volunteers for (Tehama-Glenn Unit). Mickie uses her grandmotherly tactics to get even the most hardened, crusty individuals to donate their time and money to her causes."
Jakez assists with the Adopt-a-Family program, Tehama-Glenn Burn and Benevolent Fund Crab Feed and Read Across America, Kinyon said.
"I want to personally thank (her) for all the help (she) has given me over the years," Kinyon said. "(She is) truly an unsung here in my book."
Source: Contracostatimes.com article - Link