What began 37 years ago as a desire to make a difference and set an example of service for his children in the community where he lived, LeRoy Smith volunteered his services with the Butte County Volunteer Fire Department. 

What began 37 years ago as a desire to make a difference and set an example of service for his children in the community where he lived, LeRoy Smith volunteered his services with the Butte County Volunteer Fire Department. 

He still felt the urge to continue his contribution to the community he loved after no longer able to participate as a civilian volunteer on police ride-alongs (due to change in the police department policy) in the evening so he showed up at the fire station and began his long service as a volunteer firefighter.

He started with Company 6 at the fire station located at Highway 99 and W. Evans Reimer Road in Gridley before the company reorganized into Company 73 covering Biggs and Gridley from the Biggs station.  He retired when he turned in his turn-out gear on September 10, 2009, from Company 74 stationed at the current location in Gridley on Kentucky Street next to City Hall. 

During his long years of service LeRoy took courses and training to obtain his EMT license and increased his participation from responding only to fires to helping with first aid calls and motor vehicle accidents. During his years of service he also assisted with the delivery of two babies. One of the latest things he had been doing was driving the water tender for the fire department.

LeRoy held many positions in the fire brigade during his years of service, including being chief for 16 years.  He was instrumental in obtaining non-profit status for Company 74.  His work with various individuals and organizations led to the company obtaining a Jaws of Life and water tenders.  In 2008 he was honored as the Volunteer Fireman of the Year.

There will be little idle time in retirement.  Already he and his wife, Udell, are planning another adventure—realizing a lifelong dream of driving  the Alaskan Highway. His children and grandchildren are looking forward to his retirement as well, having more time to spend with him without being interrupted by an alarm and seeing him rush out the door to provide assistance to someone in need.

Udell and LeRoy exemplify service to others and the community but do not crave attention or recognition for it, often slipping in to provide the assistance or fill a need and then disappearing out the back door quiet as a mouse……