Brent Younker: Fifty years as a Volunteer Firefighter and still responding to calls.
Corbett Fire District; Corbett, Oregon – September 29, 2021
In the early 1970s the Aims area, located in the Southeast corner of Multnomah County, was seeking to be annexed to the Corbett Fire District. When the Corbett Fire District annexed Aims, they had no idea they would be getting Brent Younker, who continues to serve the district fifty years later. Thanks to the generosity of the Baker Family, space was donated in one of their barns to house an early 1950s Diamond T fire engine. Later the Baker Family donated the land where the current Aims Fire Station is located.
Brent Younker was twenty years old when he joined in 1971 and has been an Assistant Chief since the late 1970s.
From the beginning training has always been one of his priorities. In 1972 he was one of the first firefighters in the State of Oregon to take an EMT medical class at Mt Hood Community College. His dedication to the department is best illustrated by the fact that he took the EMT class twice! After the first class his paper work for recertification was lost in a bureaucratic “paper work haze”, so he retook the class again in the 1980s. In the 1980s he was one of first volunteer firefighters to take a leadership class at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. As a leader, he is recognized by the firefighters, as one who leads with a calm demeanor and a rational approach to solving problems. This is reflected because he has been elected three times as Officer of the Year by the firefighters as well as being runner-up for Oregon Volunteer of the Year in 1999.
In his “other job” Brent oversees the family business that has two rental stores in Gresham/ Sandy area. He was twenty and single when he joined the department in 1971, today he has seven grandchildren.
During his tenure he has worked with nine different Fire Chiefs. With his long tenure, he is not the longest serving volunteer in the department. Former Chief, Bob Layton, served fifty nine years retiring in May, 2016.
Current Fire Chief, Dave Flood says, “Brent has helped the Corbett Fire District grow five plus decades as a leader. Brent makes every night and weekend call he’s dispatched to, and still works full time as a business owner. His energy and work ethic set an example for all of us to follow.”
Asked what significant changes he has observed in the last fifty years, Brent noted the increase emphasis on training and the invention of new technology. Brent stated, “In 1971 firefighters started responding to calls after being in the department for three months without any training. Today the recruits respond after six months of training and have a Fire Fighter 1 certificate.” An example of new technology the department now has defibrillation machines to assist a patient with a heart problem; in 1971 the department only had the ability to do CPR.
The decision by the Corbett Fire District in 1971 to annex the Aims area brought in more than a new area to serve, it allowed the department to bring in a member who fifty years later is still making a strong contribution as a leader to the organization, as well as responding to calls in the community.