In a tradition that goes back to the 1850’s and the earliest days of the Grass Valley Volunteer Fire Department, the Grass Valley firehouse bells tolls signifying the passing of a former member of the department.
Saturday morning the bell at the the Race Street Station, tolled 78 times to honor former Chief and lifelong communiy member John Straka.
A crowd including family and friends, as well as current and retired firefighters were present to honor Chief Straka.
Retired chief, Thomas Browning says Straka was responsible for bringing the fire department to a higher level. He took on city council when they didn’t include sprinklers in the newly remodled city hall. He also represented firefighters statewide.
Another retired chief, Charlie Jakobs speaks of Straka’s integrity and compassion as a leader.
Fire Marshall Terry McMahon began his career under Chief Straka.
Along with protecting the community as a firefighter, Straka also had a full career protecting people’s assets by providing full service insurance coverage to hundreds of residents through his Allstate business.