After 30 years of serving the communities of the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (RSFFPD), Captain Mike Shore has retired from the RSF Fire District. His last day with the RSFFPD was Feb. 3, 2015.
Shore began his firefighting career in 1985 as a volunteer with the Solana Beach Fire District, which was part of a joint powers authority (JPA) with RSFFPD at the time. A licensed contractor, he hadn’t planned on pursing a full-time career in the fire service, but he started to feel something was missing from his life.
Nick Pavone, who was a captain at the time and later became Fire Chief before his retirement from the RSFFPD in 2010, reached out to Shore and convinced him to apply for a student position with the fire district. He officially joined the district in September of 1985. Pavone recently commented that “Mike’s success in the fire service is a result of his ability to utilize his life experiences, knowledge, and personality to analyze situations and take the best course of action. He has a great personality, very motivated and has numerous contributions to the district during his years of service.”
His first assignment at the Village Park Station (now an Encinitas station) and over the years eventually worked out of each fire station within the district. He was promoted to engineer in 1990, a position he felt was a really good fit.
“I have a passion for driving,” Shore explained, “and for 20 years as engineer I got to drive.” He eventually relinquished the wheel to another engineer when he was promoted to captain in 2005.
During his career with the district, Shore went above and beyond the day to day duties associated with being a firefighter. Perhaps one of his popular and public accomplishments was starting the annual pancake breakfast in 1989, a tradition that continues to this day. More behind the scenes, he served as the president of the firefighters association; oversaw the DMV program; was responsible for hose testing, maintenance, and inventory; ran the engine company inspection program; and conducted background investigations on potential employees for RSFFPD, as well as Encinitas, Del Mar, and Solana Beach Fire Departments
“Mike was a huge help with the background investigations, especially having a background in law enforcement,” stated Battalion Chief and Training Officer Bret Davidson. “He also built the sand table which we use in training quite frequently.”
“He was our project guy,” added Deputy Chief Fred Cox. “Construction, electrical, remodels, you name it. If there was a project that needed to be done, Mike would step in and make sure it was done and done well.”
For his efforts, Shore was named Firefighter of the Year in 1991 and again in 2011.
Shore’s decision to retire from the district was not an easy one. “I had no plans to retire, but an opportunity to help grow an established department under a new management team came up. Going to Valley Center is a good chance to use my experience to help another district grow.”
“Mike Shore was a great asset to this district and the community and he will be greatly missed,” said Fire Chief Tony Michel. “His talents, energy, and humor all contributed to his success at the district. Fortunately, the fire service in North San Diego County will continue to benefit from his talents and skills as he continues his passion of serving, just in a new community.”
Added Deputy Chief Mike Gibbs, “Mike was always my go-to guy. No matter what the project or task, he was always there to help or take the lead in it organization or implementation. Mike left his mark in the community and on the culture of our organization, he will be missed.”
The mission of the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District is “To protect life, property, and environment through prevention, preparedness, education and emergency response.” Formed in 1946, the Fire District now spans approximately 38-square miles and protects over 29,000 citizens. The Fire District currently operates out of four full-time fire stations and serves the communities within and surrounding Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch, and 4S-Ranch.