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July 1 will mark the retirement of one of the most popular figures in
the fire service here in the Snoqualmie Valley. Chief Jerry Venera is
retiring after a 40-year career serving the public as our fire chief.
Chief Venera began his long career as a Forest Service employee on a
forest fire suppression crew in the 1960s. He continued with the Forest
Service as a foreman on their "hotshot" firefighting crew in 1967. In
1970 Jerry signed on with the city of North Bend as a
volunteer firefighter where he was promoted through
the ranks, replacing Jim Posey as volunteer chief
in 1978. Chief Venera resigned his position with the Forest
Service in July of 1980 and became the first full-time paid
employee of the North Bend fire department.
During his long career with North Bend, Venera wore many hats,
serving in several capacities from building official to interim city
administrator. Chief Venera's many accomplishments during his career include
the creation of the little league baseball fields that many of us currently
enjoy in North Bend, as well as serving on the committee to form the fire
training academy here. Chief Venera was also instrumental in bringing
the Medic One program to the Valley, enabling residents to have the same
level of advanced emergency medical care given to people in metropolitan
areas. Chief Venera was also instrumental in bringing modern fire prevention
techniques to us, as well as code enforcement directed at preventing
disasters in our community.
Eastside Fire and Rescue honored Chief Venera at their last board
meeting and the city of North Bend also commended Jerry at their last
Jerry plans to spend his well-earned leisure time with his
wife Diane at their vacation home in Eastern Washington, as well as helping
his four children, Bob, Steve, Karen and Gretchen, and five grandchildren
with their many projects and hobbies.
Bill Weber is a fire commissioner for District 38.