Chamber as Public Safety Officer of the Quarter

February 13, 2015
Santa Paula News

The city’s longest serving full-time firefighter was honored Tuesday as the Public Safety officer of the Quarter by the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce at Good Morning Santa Paula!

Santa Paula Fire Chief Rick Araiza presented the award to Captain John Harber, who initially joined the SPFD in 1990 as the city’s full-time Fire Prevention Officer.

At that time Harber worked with the City Fire Marshal and the fire department was still staffed by paid-call volunteers.

Araiza noted Harber, “Jumped into the fire service when the department went full-time,” in 1995.

A graduate of Newbury Park High School, Harber moved his family to Santa Paula when he joined the city; Araiza said his family remains close-by and now Harber has “two grandkids and one on the way... “

Harber should be used to honors: December “He was voted by his peers Santa Paula Firefighter of the Year and he’s up for the official Firefighter of the Year,” award that Araiza said is sponsored each year by Kiwanis Clubs of Ventura County, including the Santa Paula club.

“Last quarter John was instrumental to our schools programs,” that teaches students fire safety, including instruction in the Smoke House and other aspects of reacting to and preventing fire.

The program also teaches children how to stay calm and keep safe in a fire situation, which is where the Smoke House comes in... the unit simulates a fire situation and shows students how to stay calm and escape a burning home safely.

The goal was to teach the program to each 4th grader in the Santa Paula Unified and outlying school districts and Araiza said next Harber will be naming the winner of the essay contest that focuses on fire safety around the home.

“John,” said Araiza, “does a great job with this program... “ 

“It’s been my pleasure serving the city of Santa Paula for 25 years,” a job that Harber said, “I still enjoy today as much as I did when I started... “

Harber received a certificate of recognition as the Chamber of Commerce’s Public Safety Officer of the Quarter and a gift certificate from Melgar Photo Studio presented by Chamber CEO Fred Robinson and Board Director Marilyn Appleby.

Acting Assistant Fire Chief Dustin Lazenby was also on hand for the award as were City Council members Jenny Crosswhite and Jim Tovias, Vice Mayor Martin Hernandez and Mayor John Procter.

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