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How El Dorado Hills Fire Chief Dave Roberts Found his Calling

Aug 03, 2015 09:21AM ● Published by Amber Foster

Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

 El Dorado Hills Fire Chief Dave Roberts witnessed his first emergency situation long before he started working at the fire department. Previously he worked as an electrical engineer, and one day, the worst happened—a hydrogen leak was discovered in his building. As a member of the company’s emergency response team, Roberts was tasked with helping everyone evacuate safely. Fortunately, no one was harmed, and the hydrogen was successfully contained. Roberts left the experience realizing that he might be destined for something more than a nine-to-five job. Soon after, he applied to be a volunteer firefighter, and the rest is history.  

Roberts has been a member of the El Dorado Hills Fire Department for over two decades now. As fire chief, his biggest goal is to provide excellent customer service to the community—service that often exceeds what’s expected of a first responder. He recalls one time his team hung Christmas lights for a man who had been injured falling from a ladder. “I’m part of an amazing team of folks,” he enthuses. “We try to always go above and beyond the call of duty.” When he isn’t putting out fires—metaphorically or literally—Roberts spends time with his wife, Sondra, his five adult children and three grandchildren. He also enjoys cross-country trips on his Harley Davidson—a red and gold special edition built for firefighters after 9/11.

 — Amber Foster

Q: What comes to you naturally? 

A: Technological and mechanical abilities—I don’t know why, but it’s always been easy for me.  

Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve? 

A: Everyone gets a trophy. If we teach our children that no matter the effort they put into something—or rather if they win or lose—that they still get a trophy, we aren’t preparing them for the real world. We are creating adults who want a reward for mediocre performance.

Q: Biggest life inspirations? 

A: My father who at the age of 14 joined the Army and survived two tours in Korea, and all the other members of the “greatest generation”—without their sacrifices who knows where we would be now. Also, everyone in law enforcement, emergency services, and the military who have given so much to protect us over the years.

Q: Best words of wisdom you’ve received?

A: “The reason people find it so hard to be happy these days is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.”—Marcel Pagnol

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