Commissioner's Corner

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

council meeting.

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.

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