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Sonoita-Elgin Fire District

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Ed Schaeffer

Ed Schaeffer 1997 – 1998

Ed was born, raised and graduated from high school in Pitman, New Jersey. He graduated in 1965 and had sent applications to severaL colleges, one of which was the University of Arizona. During his senior at high school, a friend had shown him some pictures of Tucson and The University. Ed really liked what he saw, so this young man headed west. He said he loved it here. I don’t think he spent ALL his time studying, because a certain young girl caught his eye. She was attending the University also. Ed graduated from the U in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science Education Degree. The day after his graduation Ed and Carol were married. Now he and his new wife headed back east. Ed taught health and physical education at Gateway High School in Woodbury Hights, New Jersey for 16 years. He also coached basketball, football, track, and wrestling. In all he spent 29 seasons in coaching.

The Schaeffer family moved back to Tucson, Carol’s home town, in 1985. Home Remodeling and Construction was his occupation for the next 2 years. That company evolved into a Cabinet Making Business. In 1989 Ed, along with his family and cabinet making business, moved to Sonoita. He joined the Sonoita-Elgin Fire Department (known at that time as SEESI) that same year. In 1990 God called Ed to the ministry. He and Carol started Harvest Christian Church with 12 people from which it has grown to 60. The Church Academy which teaches grades 2-12 was started in 1999. It started with 5 children and now has 17. Teaching is definitely Ed’s talent.

During his years in the Fire Dept., Ed was a Captain in charge of Training for seven years, and what great training he directed. He tried to have many training’s away from the station so firefighters would gain experience in different situations. There were practice burns, both house and grass fires, in this and surrounding areas and to include Rio Rico. These burns were done in order to let firemen experience the REAL thing, putting fires out with both water and foam. There were scenarios at the Abbey, training sessions at the school (the only place in Sonoita-Elgin that had a fire hydrant) and lots of blackboard lessons in the station.

Ed became Fire Chief in March of 1998. He was heavy into physical fitness for the firefighters. He had one training session where he had the firefighters dress out completely with turn outs , boots, hoods, helmet and masks with SCBA’s turned on. They were to run around the station once, and EMT’s would take their blood pressure. The same thing went on several times to see who need more physical attention and who could take it! Another of his main concerns was upgrading the quality of personal equipment of each firefighter and EMT. Along with those upgrades came upgrading of the larger trucks. He was also instrumental in getting our first portable water tank (called the donut). Water can be drafted into and out of these by trucks and helicopters. Chief Schaeffer helped Chief Chambers obtain the compressed air foam pumper (821). Written procedures and policies were a definite priority during this time: largely for our insurance protection. Tubac had the Certificate of Need (CON) for the south eastern part of Santa Cruz County, so Ed had an ambulance stationed out of our building. Because they ate, slept, and sat their 24 hour shifts in our dispatch room, it interfered with our dispatch. Other arrangements for them were made to be housed at LaTart’s Mini-Mart. S.W. corner of Hwy. 82 and Hwy. 83) where they are now. Another necessity initiated at this time was “CHECK IN” This helped to know how many people were here and available to answer a call on that day, When our dispatcher called for “Check In,” all those available, answer with their call number. This is done at 7:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. Also that year Chief Schaeffer initiate a honorary title called “Firefighter of the Year.” Chuck Bishop won it, and well deserved it was ! The Chief retired in December, 1998 to start the Harvest Christian Church Academy. The Schaeffers have three children and four grandchildren – the latest one should be born by now – SHE is born now – !

Ed was and is a very special man – giving, kind and a very hard worker. He built ALL the cabinets in the station which includes the dispatch room, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the bay, the training rooms and the offices. When I say ALL, I mean ALL!

Many thanks to you Ed for being our Fire Chief. You continued our constant move to better the Department.

SONOITA-ELGIN FIRE DISTRICT

3173 AZ-83
Sonoita, AZ 85637
(520) 455-5854
sefd911@sefd911.org

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