RIPON - Jeff Rankin will continue to serve on the Ripon Consolidated Fire District without being on the ballot since no contender came forward to run for his seat.
Rankin, a computer scientist at the Livermore Lab, was appointed as a trustee three years ago on the death of board member Bill Berghorst. He also served as a volunteer firefighter for five years from 2002 until 2007.
Moving to Ripon in his freshman year at Ripon High, he lived on a rural road just east of Murphy Road. Rankin said he was first drawn to the fire department by seeing how firefighters helped people throughout the community and noticed how they were respected – just wanting to help in the same way, he said.
Rankin remembers Christmas season calls that came in a series – one after another – shortly after he joined the department. There were five to seven house fires, he recalled, with Christmas trees, attics and garages the firefighters handled.
He said the fire district is “doing fine for right now,” adding he doesn’t see any changes until the economy picks up. “We were planning ahead with the rapid growth curve, but then it all dropped off,” he said.
A new Station Three planned for River Road and North Ripon Road will be a benefit to the community as the city grows and redevelopment funds might be available again, he added.
Rankin attended the department’s six week academy before becoming a volunteer. He said the rookies trained on Mondays and Wednesdays and some Saturdays noting that the days of volunteer firefighters are rapidly declining. The volunteer firefighters of the past usually worked in Ripon businesses and could break away from their stores and respond to a call at a moment’s notice, he said. It is much more consuming than it used to be serving on the department, he said.
Rankin and his wife Mary have two adult children, Carley, 29 and Rob, 22, a History major at Stan State. For hobbies he enjoys fly fishing and roller hockey at the Ripon rink.