GRFD Honors Staff with 20 Years of Service

January 1, 2016


By Christopher Lomahuqhau

Community Newsperson


The Gila River Fire Department held a special celebration for three firefighters who have served the Community for 20 years.


The late Deputy Chief David Martin, Captain John Martin and Lieutenant Salvador Erivez Jr., were recognized for their service at Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse on Dec. 19.


All three individuals served with GRFD since the Community made it a full-time fire department in 1994.


Each of the honorees received a special silver plated fireman’s axe and a plaque designed by Community artist Aaron Sabori from District 6.


A video presentation of the three firefighters was shown looking back at the history and accomplishments made in the last 20 years. 


In speaking about the history of the department, GRFD Fire Chief Thomas C. Knapp emphasized David Martin’s work and how he was instrumental in bringing his experience of firefighting to the Community.


“Today we congratulate the members of the department that reached the milestone of twenty years of service to the Community,” said Knapp.


Former GRFD Fire Chief Mark Openshaw shared his memories of the department’s early years and how like-minded individuals came together to build a competent core of firefighters.


“We all came together to start a full time paying fire department in 1994. I recall first setting foot in the fire station in Sacaton, looking through a fire truck that had almost every compartment bay empty.”


Since then, Openshaw said GRFD has grown from humble beginnings to a fully operational fire department well equipped to answer the call.


Lt. Gov. Monica Antone gave thanks to all the firefighters for their sacrifices and service to make the Community a safe place.


She said GRFD has made a lot of progress, which in the beginning was made possible through the passion and commitment exemplified by the three honorees.