Thank You, Engineer Larry Goodman and All Ukiah Area Firefighters
Last week, I had the opportunity to work with police officers on the street.
Late in the afternoon, we were called to a terrible injury traffic accident on South State Street near the airport. A distracted driver had collided with another car, and several people were hurt.
When I arrived, first responders were already on the scene providing medical care to the crash victims.
I was extremely impressed by these first responders from Ukiah City Fire Department, Ukiah Valley Fire Department, Ukiah Ambulance, and VeriHealth Ambulance, who provided expert care to the injured. There were a total of ten first responders making sure the accident victims received immediate care.
One of those ten first responders was Engineer Larry Goodman.
Next week, Larry will work his last shift as a fire engineer – paramedic, and retire from the City of Ukiah Fire Department. Larry started with the department as a volunteer in 1993 and was named the Volunteer Firefighter of the Year in 1995.
That same year, Larry was hired as a full-time firefighter – paramedic for the City of Ukiah. Within a few years, Larry’s peers recognized him for his outstanding performance, honoring him with the Firefighter of the Year Award in 2001 and 2002.
In 2002, Larry was promoted to the rank of engineer – paramedic, and was often counted on to serve as an acting captain for the fire department. Because of his excellent performance, Larry was again recognized as the Firefighter of the Year in 2008.
In addition to serving as acting captain for the department, Larry assumed many other duties. He was responsible for outfitting every paid and volunteer firefighter with protective clothing and equipment, and he was extremely passionate about keeping the fire engines in pristine condition.
In fact, I think Larry was happiest when he was working as an engineer on the fire engines and ladder truck. His routine for ensuring proper maintenance of these expensive vehicles was legendary among his peers. He knew each fire engine from top to bottom, and spent many hours ensuring they were properly outfitted and ready for an emergency.
Larry’s other love was physical fitness. Larry obtained his Bachelor of Science in Physical Fitness with dean’s honors from San Diego State University in 1991. He went on to play a key role in developing and implementing the Police and Fire Departments’ physical fitness programs, and he is among the most physically fit people I have ever known.
As long as I have known Larry, he has participated in triathlons, mountain runs and other endurance races, including some as long as 100 miles. He competed in Hawaii’s Ironman Triathlon, and has won many endurance races including the San Felipe Triathlon and the Steamroller 100K Mountain Run.
While mountain runs and ironman triathlons can be dangerous, Larry had plenty of dangerous assignments and activities at work, too. In fact, just a few months ago Larry was leading a fire fighting team inside a building on North Street when the fire brought the roof down on Larry and his team. Thankfully, he and his team were unharmed.
As I left the scene of the traffic collision, I was thinking about all the changes that Larry has seen during his career, including the changes we’re in the middle of right now.
We have just finished the process of transferring ambulance service to private providers and we are currently working to merge the City of Ukiah Fire Department with the Ukiah Valley Fire Department. While transitions like this can be unsettling, I truly believe these changes will allow all of our first responders to arrive faster and provide better care to our community. A combined fire department improves the coordination of volunteer firefighter activities, and allows for faster paramedic advanced life support responses to our entire community.
Making these changes has been difficult for the volunteer and paid firefighters working in both departments. For the last year, they have shared a common fire chief. They have begun to merge volunteer programs together. They are working to combine Fire Marshall Services, and join the fire fighters from both shifts into a cohesive team. Fire Chief Bartlett and his entire staff of volunteer and paid fire fighters have worked extremely hard to make these changes and should be commended for their work.
As I witnessed firsthand at the scene of that collision a few weeks ago, how these changes our firefighters have made – working together as a team – have increased safety in the Ukiah Community.
Thank you, Larry Goodman, Chief Bartlett, and the volunteer and paid firefighters of the Ukiah Valley Fire District and Ukiah City Fire Department for all that you have done to serve us.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.