Orland Fire District salutes outgoing board trustees
Board of Trustees honors the late Attorney James J. Roche naming the board room in his honor
The Orland Fire Protection District on Tuesday April 25, 2023 saluted trustees Chris Evoy, former board chairman, and Craig Schmidt, whose terms expire in May.
The board approved resolutions commending them for their service and their commitment to making the Orland Fire Protection District one of the best in the nation, and placed a plaque in the board room naming it after James J. Roche, the district attorney who died on October 11, 2022.
The board approved three resolutions, two for outgoing trustees Schmidt and Evoy, and one dedicating the board room in Roche’s honor.
“Craig was a dedicated and respected member of the board who took his responsibilities seriously,” said Orland Fire Chief Michael Schofield.
Schmidt served as a Trustee from 2017 to 2023 and served as board secretary. Prior to joining the board as a trustee in 2017, he served as a Fire Commissioner beginning in 2011 overseeing personnel hiring and assessments.
Evoy has served on the Fire District Board since 2011, including as treasurer for two years and then as president from 2013 until 2023.
Schofield said that during his term as president, the Fire District accomplished many important achievements.
“During that time, Evoy oversaw the negotiation and approval of eight labor agreements. The Fire District received $10.2 million in grants to support and strengthen our emergency response abilities,” Schofield said, noting that during his tenure he declined to take the monthly compensation paid to each trustee.
“The Fire District is only one of 100 fire districts in the nation that have achieved an ISO 1 ranking.”
ISO (Insurance Services Office) is an international accreditation that is based on the assessment of a fire department’s overall ability to respond to emergency situations and it impacts the costs of insurance that homeowners must pay for fire damage coverage. The higher the Fire department’s score the lower the insurance cost to homeowners.
Schofield credited Evoy with running the fire district “like a business” accomplishing many achievements and national recognition.
He noted that during Evoy’s time on the board, the district accomplished many of its most notable achievements:
The Firefighter pension fund is funded at 100 percent
Remodeled all of the district’s fire stations ensuring the extended life of the buildings
The Orland Fire Protection District has the highest Cardiac Arrest “Save Rate” in the region and possibly the nation, 71 percent compared to the 10-15 percent average.
“Chris Evoy was a businessman and he read everything we put in front of him and he questioned everything. We purchased many fire trucks, fire engines, and ambulances. Everything comes to the board and he would go over everything and makes recommendations,” Schofield said.
“We made many improvements during his term to our training site. Our EMS is second to none. It is from our board of trustees, all of them. But Chris always went into the details and made sure we not only had the best but would last us the longest. If you look at the Orland Fire District, we have the highest Save Rate in the region and that is because of the equipment we have and the training that we do.”
Evoy led the building of a new maintenance center, Schofield said, replacing maintenance center that was built when the district only had two fire stations. Today it has six fire stations.
“When you drive down 107th Street and see that maintenance and training center, Chris was a big part of getting that done,” Schofield said.
“He read every contract and everything we wrote,” Schofield said saying Evoy made the district explain why they needed certain purchases that they requested and how they would benefit the residents.”
OFPD President John Brudnak praised both Schmidt and Evoy saying they made great contributions to the fire district.
At the end of the meeting, Schofield, the district’s Battalion Chiefs, Brudnak and the board members joined with members of Roche’s family to place the Plaque in his honor on the board room wall.
Roche, who served for many years as the lead attorney for the Fire District, died on October 11, 2023 at the age of 73.
“He was an attorney second to known and a mentor to many,” Evoy remembered.
“He was a great lawyer, a great friend and he is missed dearly.”
OFPD Fire Chief Michael Schofield praised Roche as a professional who championed the needs of the Fire District.
“He cared about the district a lot and would always say ‘we are going to do what is best for the district.’ Jim was a great negotiator,” said Schofield.
“He is remembered as a great negotiator and as a general when it came to fighting for the fire District.”
Schofield described Roche as a fighter who defended the fire district and the interests of the district’s taxpayers, winning many legal cases on behalf of the fire district and saving the taxpayers millions of dollars.
Schofield introduced Roche’s family including his wife, Ellen, several relatives and his daughter Megan who serves as the district’s attorney. They helped place the Plaque on the Wall honoring Roche for his long time legal service on behalf of the fire District and the taxpayers.
Family included Shannon (Dominique) Vargas, Megan (John) Steigauf and Patrick (Molly) Roche, and his sister Katherine (Edward F.) Napleton.