GCFD3’s Newest Firefighter/Mechanic Ross Massey
Warmest of welcomes to the newest staff member of Grant County Fire District 3! Ross Massey will transition from being a volunteer firefighter to becoming our new full time firefighter and mechanic on March 1st. Ross is excited to fill the position of mechanic that GCFD 3 has been needing. He comes with 12 years experience working on equipment on Ben Schappman’s farm and has completed the 18 month John Deere Mechanic School at Walla Walla Community College. Ross will be an excellent addition to our staff as he brings the skills for troubleshooting mechanical issues and he intends to build up the fire district’s mechanic program to the point where he can do some fabrication work in the shop. For instance, he states that we’ve needed equipment added or changed on trucks such as places to store gear on wildland trucks for state mobilizations. He would like to make these specialized changes to better equip our apparatus to our needs.
Ross grew up being mechanically inclined. He has always enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together again. He likes the challenge of troubleshooting a problem and then fixing the issue. His high school senior project was a week long welding class for the public. He would invite the public that wanted to learn how to weld, and then a couple hours each night he’d teach different welding techniques to his students. He’s proud that the senior project he started has been repeated through the years since his graduation.
Ross is excited to join GCFD3 fulltime and is especially looking forward to a set schedule. Working on the farm since 7th grade hasn’t allowed him the opportunity to enjoy recreational activities during the warmer months. He looks forward to doing some hunting and dropping a line in the water to fish a bit more. But most importantly, he looks forward to spending weekends and evenings with his fiancé, Heather Fleming. Heather will be graduating school as a dental hygienist in August. She will work a four day work week and for the first time, they will have weekends off together. Ross and Heather have set their wedding date for October 14th of this year. 2017 is definitely a year of exciting changes for them both.
Ross is an avid motorsports fan. “If it has a motor in it, I like to play with it.” Snowmobiling is his favorite. “There is nothing like it. It’s like you’re floating on air and when you’re above the clouds, it’s like you can dive right off into the clouds.” He also likes dirt bikes and four wheelers. Ross enjoys working on his diesel pickup and clarifies that it’s because he wants to, not because he has to. In addition, Ross also plays the drums for his church, Quincy Free Methodist Church, where he fills the role as a youth leader. He enjoys following the Seahawks and Boise State in football. He’s even been known to play a little flag football and occasionally some baseball and softball. He can also be found on the field coaching baseball.
Ross had his eye on this position for some time now. As a volunteer firefighter he enjoyed helping people. His plan was to get all his certifications done and then look for a position such as the position he has now obtained with our department. He laughs when he said this position opened up about 3 years earlier than expected. Ross is going to have a lot on his plate as he makes the transition from volunteer to career firefighter, but he can see himself still working here in 20 years. Perhaps he’ll be fulfilling a different role within the department, but he has roots here in Quincy and plans on growing them deeper.
–By Michele Talley
Member Spotlight Firefighter Travis Kirk
At this year’s annual fire banquet, Travis Kirk was recognized for 20 years of service for Grant County Fire District 3. When I hear numbers like this, I wonder what was I doing 20 years ago? What were you doing 20 years ago? (Some of you weren’t even born yet.) Maybe a better question would be, what will you be doing in 20 years? Will you have made a difference to someone? Travis can say that his experience in the fire service has afforded him many opportunities to make someone’s day better, ease someone’s pain, and maybe even have saved someone’s life. In 1996, someone made a difference in Travis’ life. His Dad had a cardiac event after being struck by a train and Cashmere Fire Department had to restart his heart 3 times while in transit from Cashmere to the hospital in Wenatchee. While his Dad was in the hospital, his mom’s house flooded and the firefighters from Cashmere pumped out his basement without being asked as he stayed at the hospital with his dying father.
A month later, Travis’ home caught on fire with his wife and son trapped inside. Grant County Fire District #3 made a bad day better for Travis’ family. Because of the positive influence of those firefighters, Travis decided to join the fire department. Now 20 years later, Travis still enjoys being a firefighter and being able to help people.
Travis has the true heart of a firefighter. He volunteers his time, his resources and has made it a way of life to make other people’s lives better. He and his wife have been married for 31 years and have 4 biological children; 3 daughters and a son. He has 6 foster children and is in the process of adopting one of them. Needless to say, family takes up a huge portion of his time but you’ll also find him doing the chains for Quincy High School football, which he has done for over 10 years, and he runs the clock at the wrestling matches.
As you can guess, Travis has a special place in his heart for children and his best memories on calls are the ones dealing with children. He has the gift to calm children during chaotic and scary events. There is one call that stands out to Travis. There was an MVA on I-90 on Thanksgiving Day involving a minivan filled with two adults and four children. Mom and Dad were moderately injured and the little 6-year-old son, who was in the accident, was fretting about the big hospital bill that would be looming and that his Dad was going to die. While at the hospital, Travis was talking to the little boy and he thought it was odd that a 6-year-old was so worried about how much the hospital was going to cost, in addition to how his Dad was not going to live. The family had left the extended family’s Thanksgiving celebration early. Apparently, the Dad had told his wife that, “he couldn’t spend another minute with her family,” and on the way home, he fell asleep at the wheel. The little boy said his Mom “was going to kill Dad when all this was said and done.” (Family dynamics are interesting! But what about the bill?) Travis had devised a plan to put the little boy’s mind at ease. While at the hospital, Travis gave the little boy a dollar. Unbeknownst to the little boy, Travis had told the nurse that the next time the little boy says he’s worried about the hospital bill, tell him the bill is a dollar, knowing that the little boy would pull that dollar out of his pocket and “pay” the nurse for the hospital bill.
When Travis isn’t working at American Water, he likes to go fishing for any and all kinds of fish; deep sea fishing, rivers, lakes and fishing up on the Kenai river in Alaska. He and his good buddy, former volunteer firefighter Brian Main, have been fishing together for over 20 years. Travis also worked for 25 years in the grocery business at Quincy Market prior to American Water where he’s been for 19 years. In addition to these jobs, he has worked security at the Gorge, pulled shifts on the ambulance, installed sprinkler systems in yards and his least favorite job, grounds keeper for Summerfield Condos. Ideally, the perfect job would be “retirement!”
Travis has made a difference in children’s lives both at home and on fire calls. He is most proud of his 31-year marriage to his wife, Angel, and of all of his children. Some of the lessons he’s learned as a fireman have helped shape him into the person he is today. The fire service builds self-confidence, instills teamwork and above all “is fun!”
–By Michele Talley