Alonzo “Jokey” Spencer
OUR SECOND CHIEF, Alonzo “Jokey” Spencer 1979 – 1988
Jokey was born and raised in Sonoita. He worked with Sam Fraizer both at “Sonoita Services” (the gas station/garage and lunchroom that Sam Fraizer owned)1., and was a member of Sam’s crew with the fire services. During his tenure as Chief, he had Sam’s old surplus 1941 fire truck, two very old 2 1/2 ton Army surplus vehicles (the old duce and a halves), 1 1/4 ton surplus jeep with 300 gal. water tank with a small self powered pump, an old Army 6×6 surplus truck, a 1st response rescue van, a big orange tanker truck and a 1986 ford truck. Because all these trucks were very old, they needed constant upgrades. This equipment was housed outside behind the Sonoita Services Garage, where the weather took its toll. In 1985 there was enough money to upgrade pumps of the big trucks from small (10 gpm) pumps to larger (350 gpm) pumps. One truck was plumbed to handle 1 1/2 inch hoses. This fire service worked the “Hand to Mouth” existence. They covered 320 square miles. Thinking they had gone about as far as they could go in the area of fire protection, they felt they could serve the district and surrounding communities better by initiating an Emergency Medical Services branch of the department. At his own expense, Mr Spencer took the training and was the first full time EMT. He was appointed Santa Cruz County Emergency Services Coordinator; Eastern Sector, Communications Officer for Santa Cruz County Emergency Services and Chairman of the Santa Cruz County Emergency Medical Services Sub-Regional, Coordinating Council’s Communications and Operations Task The department at this time had the best equipped mobile communications vehicle in the County with the exception of the Sheriff’s office. Now they not only had fire control, search and rescue, but EMT service.
In October of 1984 Articles of Incorporation with the State of Arizona were filed to include a Non-Profit /Tax Exempt Status with the Federal Government. The name decided on was Sonoita Elgin Emergency Services, Inc. (SEESI)
Best News OF ALL!!! A parcel of land was donated by Mrs. Bettie Ann Beck to build a Fire Station. 2. Ground breaking was February 1989 with Mrs Beck, Sam Fraizer and Mr Spencer turning the first shovels of dirt. What a happy Day!! When everyone got together to build the building, the whole community helped. There were local contractors, workmen, local volunteers, Border Patrol, and an Air National Guard unit out of Chicago. Everyone helped! This station will be used to house not only the Fire and Emergency Response Vehicles, but as a base for communications, in-house training and schooling and training for the public in Emergency response and care. It will also be used for other Community Services.
This community owes a very large debt of gratitude to Chief Spencer for the great progress he made for this area. The many programs he started have enabled us to be where we are today.
THANKS CHIEF JOKEY SPENCER
1. Where the library and county buildings are now.
2. All this land was a homestead belonging to Larimor.
Sold in 1944 to L. W. Douglas. (Mary Peace Douglas’ Father-in-law)
Sold in early 1970’s to Burton Beck.
Sonoita, AZ 85637