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The Redlands Fire Department this week named Capt. Richard Sessler as the department’s Firefighter of the Year.

Sessler entered the fire service as a fire explorer with the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Protection District in 1999.  Two years later he left the explorer program to become a volunteer firefighter with the Riverside County Fire Department, attending the 42nd Basic Fire Academy and completing his Associate of Science Degree at Crafton Hills College. 

Soon after graduation, Sessler was employed as a seasonal firefighter with the United States Forest Service and was assigned to the San Bernardino National Forest Mountain Top District.  His hard work and dedication were quickly recognized and in 2000 Sessler was selected to join the Del Rosa Hotshots, an elite team of wildland firefighters.  It was during his time with the Hotshots that Sessler’s leadership and work ethic grew and flourished.  Recalling his commitment to the fire service and his fellow firefighters, Del Rosa Hotshot Superintendent Jim Tomaselli said, “He was well known amongst his fellow firefighters as someone that could be counted on and trust him with your life.”

Sessler continued to move-up steadily through the ranks of the Forest Service and was selected as a founding member of the newly created Mill Creek Hotshots in 2002.  Remembering Sessler’s service as a Squad Boss leading a team of firefighters, Mill Creek Hotshot Superintendent John Ellison said, “Richie carried the cornerstone of the Hotshots — duty, honor and respect — to the highest levels. His leadership style and concern for his squad’s well-being was unprecedented.” In 2003, Sessler was promoted to Engineer and assigned to the City Creek station. 

During his time with the Forest Service, Sessler attended and completed numerous challenging training classes and programs in a wide range of fire suppression fields.  Sessler was also repeatedly recognized for his service and is a three-time recipient of the United States Department of Agriculture Certificate of Merit and State of Florida Distinguished Service Award. 

In 2005, Sessler left the Forest Service to join the Redlands Fire Department.  In 2008, Sessler was promoted to Fire Engineer and to Fire Captain in 2009.  During this time, Sessler obtained his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Grand Canyon University and his Hazardous Materials Technician qualification. He also attended the Riverside County Truck Academy and Auto Extrication Academy.  In 2012, he completed his master’s degree in Administration and Management from the University of Redlands and was nominated by his peers to join the esteemed Whitehead Leadership Society.

Sessler’s involvement in the department extends far beyond his own professional development, as much of his work is focused on supporting the development and advancement of his fellow firefighters. Shortly after his promotion to captain, Sessler became a Shift Training Captain.  This position plans, coordinates and delivers essential training to personnel assigned to the shift.  He also represents Redlands and other East Valley fire agencies on a regional board for the California Incident Command Certification System, which evaluates and certifies fire personnel for positions within the Incident Command System and ensures that those individuals can effectively manage complex emergency responses.  Additionally, Sessler has served in the position of Training Specialist with California Incident Management Team No. 5.  This team responds to emergency incidents across the country, ranging from hurricanes and tornados to earthquakes and fires.  In this role, Capt. Sessler mentored trainees, providing guidance and coordinating the team’s incident responses.

On the emergency scene is where Capt. Sessler’s knowledge, skills and abilities are most clearly displayed.  While responding to the Sawtooth Fire in the Morongo Valley, an unpredictable and rapidly approaching fire front was bearing down on numerous homes.  Sessler’s quick and efficient direction assisted in saving many of those homes.  Similarly, while responding to the Edgemont Fire in the Sunset Hills area, Sessler’s command presence helped response teams successfully deploy a complex backfiring operation, saving several homes and hundreds of acres of vegetation. 

Most recently Sessler responded to the North Pass Fire in the Mendocino National Forest where his ability to coordinate and lead firefighters on an extremely stubborn timber fire in tremendously difficult terrain was noted by his branch director. His actions and leadership saved multiple residences and thousands of acres of precious watershed. Sessler’s current supervisor, Battalion Chief Jim Topoleski,  describes him as a “quiet leader who listens and earns the trust of his employees by doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. On the fire ground he remains calm and methodical.”

In addition to his work with the department, Sessler also serves his fellow firefighters and the community as an Executive Board Member for the Redlands Professional Firefighters Association. His work with the Professional Firefighters Association includes his involvement in the Honor Guard, the Lighting the Way Event Committee, the Redlands Firefighters Car Show, the Red Lights and Sirens Dinner with Martha Green, the Associates of the Redlands Bowl Cooking with Martha event, the Walk for Life, Community Clean-up days, and Habitat for Humanity.

While Capt. Sessler’s commitment to the department and the residents of Redlands is clear, he emphasizes that his most important commitment is to his wife, Tammy, and their three children, Anthony, Tyler and Khloe.

“You know, I love my job,” says Sessler. “I love doing what I get paid to do, but my job is second to my family. I just love them a bunch more and that really is what matters.”

The Fire Department’s Firefighter of the Year is chosen by the Department’s executive team with participation from department firefighters.

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2014 City Hall Calendar

City Hall Hours:
7:30 am to 5:30 pm

Events Calendar

 

Upcoming

Yesterday

  1. Post 261 Explorer Meeting
    • Start time: 06:30pm
    • End date: Wednesday, July 30th
    • End time: 08:30pm
    • Open Enrollment to join the Redlands Explorer Program is in January of every year, but you can pick-up and drop-off applications through-out the entire year at the Fire Administration office. Ages to join are between 15 years To 21 years old.

      Fire Administrative Office
      35 Cajon Street #12
      Redlands, CA 92373

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Today

  1. Tiny Tot Story Time
    • Start time: 10:40am
    • End date: Thursday, July 31st
    • End time: 10:55am
    • Join us in the Assembly Room each Thursday morning for great songs, and stories!

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  2. Market Night
    • Start time: 06:00pm
    • End date: Thursday, July 31st
    • End time: 09:00pm
    • Established in 1988, Redlands Market Night has established itself as one of the most successful certified farmers markets in Southern California! Vendors vie to participate in the event that has attracted thousands of weekly visitors since its inception. Visitors are welcomed into an inviting atmosphere complete with lighted trees, brick sidewalks, historic buildings, and great musical entertainment. Crowds are pleasantly surrounded by over 150 food and merchandise booths, not to mention the downtown shopkeepers, every Thursday night.

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Tomorrow

  1. City Hall Closed
    • Extended service hours are offered in order for the public to conduct City business before and after traditional business hours. City staff is available 9 hours a day to serve you. City Hall offices are closed every other Friday.

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Saturday, August 2nd

  1. Celebration of Healthy Living - Saturday Morning Farmers' Market
    • Start time: 08:00am
    • End date: Saturday, August 2nd
    • End time: 12:00pm
    • To kick off the City's new SNAP/EBT electronic benefits capability at the Saturday Morning Farmers' Market and as part of the City’s Healthy Redlands initiative, the City of Redlands is sponsoring a Celebration of Healthy Living at the Saturday Morning Farmers' Market in Ed Hales Park from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 2.

      This free event will include composting with worms, gardening and water conservation demonstrations; cooking demonstrations; information on healthy nutrition, physical activity, and health care programs; as well as free face-painting for kids, games and prizes. The Saturday Farmers' Market is located in the City parking lot adjacent to Ed Hales Park south of Redlands Boulevard between Fifth and Sixth streets.

      Presentations on the stage at Ed Hales Park will include:

      Zumba Fitness for Adults at 8:45 a.m.
      Zumba Fitness for Youth at 9:30 a.m.
      Tai Chi at 10:15 a.m.
      Tumbling for Fun at 11 a.m.

      Free shuttle service will be available every 30 minutes from the Redlands Community Center at 111 W. Lugonia Ave. to the Farmers Market.

      Additional participants and presenters include:

      The Cooking Block - Cooking Classes and C.E.N.T.E.R. Management Program
      UCCE Master Gardener Demonstrations - Container Herb Gardening and Vermi-composting (composting with worms!)
      San Bernardino Master Food Preservers
      Molina Health Care - Managing Your Health Care Needs
      YMCA of the East Valley - Youth Development and Healthy Living Programs
      Redlands Community Hospital - Health Education Programs
      Building A Generation - Family Resource Center
      Social Action Community Health Services - Low Cost Health Care Programs
      IEHP - Super Hero Nutricia Fighting Childhood Obesity!
      County of San Bernardino - Children & Family Services Programs
      City of Redlands - Water Efficient Gardening
      County of San Bernardino - Nutrition Programs
      County of San Bernardino - Transitional Assistance Department-SNAP/EBT
      City of Redlands - Saturday Morning Farmers’ Market
      County of San Bernardino - Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  2. Household Hazardous Waste Collection site
    • Start time: 09:30am
    • End date: Saturday, August 2nd
    • End time: 12:30pm
    • During operating hours, residents can dispose of household materials including, outdated prescription medication (with the exception of controlled substances), outdated pet prescription medication, paint products, chemical cleaners, pesticides, fertilizers, hobby/pool supplies, automotive oil, filters, brake fluid, transmission fluid, anti-freeze, gasoline, and propane tanks.

      The site does not accept business waste, radioactive wastes, medical waste, explosives, reactives, or asbestos.

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  3. Spanish Story Time
    • Start time: 10:15am
    • End date: Saturday, August 2nd
    • End time: 10:45am
    • Join us in the story corner of the Young Readers' Room and enjoy stories and songs in Spanish!

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Monday, August 4th

  1. Environmental Review Committee
  2. Tango classes
    • Start time: 06:45pm
    • End date: Monday, August 4th
    • End time: 08:00pm
    • Tango Classes to begin at the Redlands Community Center

      Come and enjoy tango lessons in a comfortable and fun setting. Tango lessons will be taught on Mondays beginning Aug. 4 through Aug. 25. Class runs from 6:45 to 8 p.m. Registration fee is $8 per person; partners are not required.

      Space is limited, so sign up today at the Redlands Community Center or online at www.cityofredlands.org/recreation/classes. For more information, please call Joe Sidor at (909) 792-6076.

      All classes are held at the Redlands Community Center multipurpose room. The Redlands Community Center is located at 111 W. Lugonia Ave. For more information, please call the Redlands Community Center at (909) 798-7572.

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Tuesday, August 5th

  1. Summer Reading Program #7
    • Start time: 01:00pm
    • End date: Tuesday, August 5th
    • End time: 02:00pm
    • Our final act of the summer will be One World, One Rhythm. Join us in the Contemporary Club for a musical adventure with these great musicians.

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  2. Summer Reading Program Finale
    • Start time: 02:00pm
    • End date: Tuesday, August 5th
    • End time: 03:00pm
    • The In-N-Out Food Truck will be here for our Grand Finale to serve lunch to all of our Summer Reading participants. This will be a first come, first serve event. There will be a grilled cheese sandwich option for those who are vegetarians.

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  3. City Council Closed Session Meeting
    • Start time: 05:00pm
    • End date: Tuesday, August 5th
    • End time: 06:00pm
    • Agenda available to view at http://cityofredlands.org/councilvideo

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  4. Chinese Story Time
    • Start time: 05:45pm
    • End date: Tuesday, August 5th
    • End time: 06:15pm
    • Join us in the Story corner of the Young Readers' Room for Chinese/Mandarin songs and stories.

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  5. City Council Meeting
    • Start time: 06:00pm
    • End date: Tuesday, August 5th
    • End time: 08:00pm
    • Agenda available to view at http://cityofredlands.org/councilvideo

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Wednesday, August 6th

  1. Preschool Story Time
    • Start time: 10:15am
    • End date: Wednesday, August 6th
    • End time: 10:45am
    • Come join in the fun of stories and songs and meet new friends! Join us in the Assembly Room each Wednesday morning at 10:15 a.m.

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  2. Post 261 Explorer Meeting
    • Start time: 06:30pm
    • End date: Wednesday, August 6th
    • End time: 08:30pm
    • Open Enrollment to join the Redlands Explorer Program is in January of every year, but you can pick-up and drop-off applications through-out the entire year at the Fire Administration office. Ages to join are between 15 years To 21 years old.

      Fire Administrative Office
      35 Cajon Street #12
      Redlands, CA 92373

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Thursday, August 7th

  1. Tiny Tot Story Time
    • Start time: 10:40am
    • End date: Thursday, August 7th
    • End time: 10:55am
    • Join us in the Assembly Room each Thursday morning for great songs, and stories!

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  2. Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission
  3. Market Night
    • Start time: 06:00pm
    • End date: Thursday, August 7th
    • End time: 09:00pm
    • Established in 1988, Redlands Market Night has established itself as one of the most successful certified farmers markets in Southern California! Vendors vie to participate in the event that has attracted thousands of weekly visitors since its inception. Visitors are welcomed into an inviting atmosphere complete with lighted trees, brick sidewalks, historic buildings, and great musical entertainment. Crowds are pleasantly surrounded by over 150 food and merchandise booths, not to mention the downtown shopkeepers, every Thursday night.

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Friday, August 8th

  1. Guan Fei art exhibition
    • Start time: 01:00pm
    • End date: Friday, August 8th
    • End time: 05:00pm
    • The A. K. Smiley Public Library, in cooperation with the California Center for Culture and Arts, will host a three-day exhibition of paintings by renowned artist Guan Fei from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 8-10.

      Born in Qingdao, China, Guan Fei began his artistic studies at the School of Arts and Crafts in Qingdao. In 2011, Guan graduated from the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China.

      Although he has had several exhibitions in China, this will be his first in the United States. In 2013, Guan spent several months in Redlands, developing a deep admiration for the community. During his visit he was inspired to paint a beautiful new series of landscapes and building portraits entitled Redlands: Southern California's Village of Orange Groves. Twenty of these works will be featured at the Smiley Library’s exhibit.

      Through a translator Guan stated that the exhibit is an expression of the love he has developed for Redlands. “The theme of the exhibit is ‘Smile and Embrace.’ The name Smiley is so similar to smile, and the community has embraced me and I desire to return that affection.”

      "Guan Fei’s passion for our town is readily apparent in his work," commented Library Director Don McCue. "I'm certain our patrons will enjoy his depictions of some of Redlands’ landmark buildings and impressive landscapes".

      The A.K. Smiley Public Library is located at 125 W. Vine St. in Redlands. For further information please consult the library's website www.akspl.org or call 909-798-7565.

    • View this event in Google Calendar

Saturday, August 9th

  1. Saturday Morning Certified Farmers Market
    • Start time: 08:00am
    • End date: Saturday, August 9th
    • End time: 11:00am
    • The City’s successful Saturday Morning Certified Farmers Market brings fresh local produce to historic downtown Redlands every Saturday.

      The Saturday Morning Certified Farmers’ Market began June 6, 2009, bringing local growers to the City parking lot south of Redlands Boulevard between Fifth and Sixth streets near Ed Hales Park. The market operates from 8 to 11 a.m. every Saturday, excluding holiday weekends.

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  2. Household Hazardous Waste Collection site
    • Start time: 09:30am
    • End date: Saturday, August 9th
    • End time: 12:30pm
    • During operating hours, residents can dispose of household materials including, outdated prescription medication (with the exception of controlled substances), outdated pet prescription medication, paint products, chemical cleaners, pesticides, fertilizers, hobby/pool supplies, automotive oil, filters, brake fluid, transmission fluid, anti-freeze, gasoline, and propane tanks.

      The site does not accept business waste, radioactive wastes, medical waste, explosives, reactives, or asbestos.

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  3. Spanish Story Time
    • Start time: 10:15am
    • End date: Saturday, August 9th
    • End time: 10:45am
    • Join us in the story corner of the Young Readers' Room and enjoy stories and songs in Spanish!

    • View this event in Google Calendar
  4. Guan Fei art exhibition
    • Start time: 01:00pm
    • End date: Saturday, August 9th
    • End time: 05:00pm
    • The A. K. Smiley Public Library, in cooperation with the California Center for Culture and Arts, will host a three-day exhibition of paintings by renowned artist Guan Fei from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 8-10.

      Born in Qingdao, China, Guan Fei began his artistic studies at the School of Arts and Crafts in Qingdao. In 2011, Guan graduated from the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China.

      Although he has had several exhibitions in China, this will be his first in the United States. In 2013, Guan spent several months in Redlands, developing a deep admiration for the community. During his visit he was inspired to paint a beautiful new series of landscapes and building portraits entitled Redlands: Southern California's Village of Orange Groves. Twenty of these works will be featured at the Smiley Library’s exhibit.

      Through a translator Guan stated that the exhibit is an expression of the love he has developed for Redlands. “The theme of the exhibit is ‘Smile and Embrace.’ The name Smiley is so similar to smile, and the community has embraced me and I desire to return that affection.”

      "Guan Fei’s passion for our town is readily apparent in his work," commented Library Director Don McCue. "I'm certain our patrons will enjoy his depictions of some of Redlands’ landmark buildings and impressive landscapes".

      The A.K. Smiley Public Library is located at 125 W. Vine St. in Redlands. For further information please consult the library's website www.akspl.org or call 909-798-7565.

    • View this event in Google Calendar

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