“Joining the fire service was the best decision I ever made,” said Valley Regional Fire Authority Captain Jon Hillebrant as he retires from a 25-year career with the Auburn Fire Department and VRFA.
Hillebrant decided to pursue a career in firefighting after ten years of volunteering with the Wishkah Fire Department near his hometown in Aberdeen. He completed a two-year program at South Puget Sound Community College and was hired by the Auburn Fire Department in October 1997. He was promoted to Captain in 2009.
Jon took on many projects over the years, beginning with his role in 1999 as a mapping coordinator. His coordination with city Geographic Information System (GIS) personnel led to a position on the City of Auburn addressing committee as a fire department representative.
He became a Respiratory Specialist in 2001 and was appointed the Captain in charge of the program in 2016. He helped implement a complete overhaul of the department’s self-contained breathing apparatus during that time. Hillebrant was a member of the ladder truck design committee, the uniform committee, and co-authored a manual for new hires titled “Approach to Excellence.” He was a member of the Honor Guard for ten years, and served as a supervisor for the Auburn COVID vaccination and testing site.
Jon was selected by his peers as VRFA Firefighter of the Year in 2006, awarded a Medal of Merit for his life-saving actions during a storm in 2003, and received several Letters of Commendation.
Although his career accomplishments are many, Jon says he is most proud of his community involvement. He served on the Auburn Good Ole’ Days Parade committee for over ten years and founded the “Honey Bucket Brigade” in 2000. Jon helped organize the Fire vs. Police Chili Cook-Off for many years, raising funds for the Auburn Food Bank. He also volunteered his time for the “Fill the Boot” drive, Toys for Kids, and Relay for Life.
“There’s no question about Jon’s contributions during his firefighting career; I witnessed it first-hand. His commitment to family, the VRFA, and our community have always been demonstrated through his actions. I feel fortunate to have worked alongside Jon and will always value how he treated others and his rock-steady work ethic,” said Fire Chief Brad Thompson.
Jon says his family has always loved being part of the fire service, but they are excited to have more time to spend with him and to travel. “The fire station is like my second home, and my co-workers a second family. I will definitely miss it.”
The above is a press release from the Valley Regional Fire Authority. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified or altered its content.