Pete Neal, of Arnold, was appointed as the new director at the Ebbetts Pass Fire District (EPFD) Board of Directors meeting Dec. 17. Neal brings 33 years of experience as a firefighter and engineer to EPFD.
His career began in the United States Air Force as a firefighter with crash rescue training. Following an honorable discharge, Neal worked for various rural fire districts and finished his lengthy career with the Stockton Fire Department.
Neal holds many certificates, including but not limited to hazmat certification, arson investigation, wildland firefighting and training instructor for aerial equipment. He also served in the position of apparatus appropriation, training and inspections.
Throughout Neal’s life he says he always held a passion for not only firefighting, but for hot rods. More specifically, he likes pin-striping and gold-leafing on hot rods.
“I actually did a lot of the gold-leaf lettering and numbering on many of the fire engines at the departments I worked for,” he said.
Still actively learning the ins and outs of the EPFD, Neal hopes to apply his knowledge of apparatus appropriation to gain better equipment for the district. He also holds a position on the apparatus committee.
“I volunteered for this committee,” Neal said. “It is my forte. My goals and objectives while I am part of that committee are to try to appropriate new equipment, specifically a new engine. We are operating with a 30-year-old engine; an engine that has a life expectancy of 25 years. It shows our district has made very good use of what they’ve had to work with, but it’s time for new equipment.”
When Neal’s “brother” in the fire department and best friend, Dan Leary, died, Neal hoped he could somehow hold a candle to Leary’s memory and make him proud.
“When the opportunity to represent EPFD as a board member was presented to me, I knew this was the way I could carry on Dan’s legacy, his memory. That was my driving force.”
Neal recently went over the apparatus and equipment at the fire district with some of the personnel “to learn and gain understanding of the equipment so that I can make educated recommendations after that.”
“I’m just getting my feet wet, and I know it will be difficult to find appropriations to get this department what they need, but from what I can see so far, the personnel, from top to bottom, are all a great group of committed professionals, which only makes me want to work harder for them and for the residents,” Neal said. “My goal is always to save lives and property while maintaining a safe environment for personnel.”
Neal and his wife Paddy own the Timber Home Store in Cedar Center in Arnold, as well as Pete’s Pin Striping. Neal also holds a position as junior governor at the Ebbetts Pass Moose Lodge.
“This is our home. We are not going anywhere,” Neal said. “Hopefully, I can help where I am needed.”