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On Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Retired Chief Mitch Malkovich received on of the highest honors from the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association.

AFCA Bob Weber 1st Annual Arizona Chief Fire Officer Lifetime Achievement Award 

Below is a photo and parts from the nomination letter turned in by current Chief, Marco Olsen.

From everyone at Tri-City Fire District:

Ret. Chief Malkovich we are very proud of you and feel honored to have worked with you. 




Nomination for Mitch Malkovich for the Arizona Chief Fire Officer Lifetime Achievement Award


Mitch Malkovich was approached by several members of the Tri-City Fire District one day in September 1961 to join the ranks of the volunteers.  He was voted into membership that year at the November monthly business meeting.  Because of his attitude and work ethic, he was promoted to the rank of captain in 1966.  By 1974, Mitch was elected Assistant Chief of the department and faithfully served as Training Officer.  He worked very closely with his dearest friend and departed brother, Chief Johnny Gregovich, during the chief’s long illness.

Mitch eventually replaced Chief Gregovich and remained focused on goals during the early years to elevate the Tri-City Volunteer Fire District into a “trained” firefighting group equaled by none.  His efforts succeeded with the devotion of the all-volunteer membership, excellent strategy and tactical leadership, and the practice of delegating responsibility throughout departmental areas.

For well over three decades, numerous changes took place during Mitch’s tenure.  A few notable modifications and upgrades include the change from the call of an all-awakening audible fire horn (street box fire alarms) to telephone alerting, and now, today’s modern pagers and portable radios with the use of repeaters; from a two-bay tin building to today’s modern fire station that we are so proud of located in the heart of Claypool; from an organization termed by many as a “social club” to today’s rigorous Fire and Medically trained personnel; from a 25-30 call per year department to this year’s projected 3,300 plus calls.

Several notable accomplishments of Chief Malkovich include the building of the Tri-City Fire District Training Facility, through countless hours of hard “voluntary” labor; the lowering of Tri-City Fire District’s ISO rating from a Class 9 to a class 5; and high quality of training offered to the individuals making up the ranks of the current membership; and the modern firefighting equipment and fleet utilized today.  These were all distinguished accomplishments for a totally volunteer fire department of its day.

It was the intent of Chief Malkovich to retire, and he did in 1995.  He was able to dedicate more time to his profession and his family life.  He certainly enjoyed the extra time with family, but something was missing.  When asked to come back as the District’s PIO in 2001, there was very little coaxing involved, and with his wife Danielle’s support, he accepted.  He was issued a radio and camera and was given his new job description, and off he went.

The Tri-City Fire District has been very blessed by the fantastic publicity generated by Chief Malkovich.  Through his in-depth knowledge of the fire service and his dedication to the department he is able to relate not only a personal touch but a very professional side to articles he writes.

Since coming back to the department, Chief Malkovich has agreed to serve on PSPRS committees, for us and the City of Globe Fire Department.  He has agreed many times to serve on additional committees for the District: Hiring, SOP’s, Fire Prevention, and Capital Improvement Projects.



 Contributions made from work done on committees and associations


  • Chief Malkovich was one of the founders of the Gila County Fire Chief’s Association.  This has developed into an incredible network that Mitch has supported with interest and enthusiasm. 


State/national contributions made from work done on committees and associations

  • Active throughout his career in firefighter training throughout the state.
  • Assistance with providing trucks for newly formed fire districts throughout the state of Arizona.  Always willing to share information and support other agencies new to firefighting.
  • Established training standards in Gila County, some of which are the state standards today.


Educational contributions

  • Designed and built a training facility in the local area.  The Tri-City Fire District Training Facility has been used by hundreds of young men and women from all reaches of Arizona.  This facility was quickly utilized by offering classes (local and state) to further the firefighting efforts of local communities.
  • Miami School District fire prevention and safety programs.
  • Smoke detector give-away/education/installation.
  • Mitch always supported our local commitment to training and helped write area- wide department SOP’s that supported Mutual Aid and Incident Command.                                





  • Assisted in providing structural firefighter training for east/central Arizona
  • Supported the training agency within his fire department that provides Emergency                First Responder, First-Aid & CPR, and Workplace & Community Safety training programs.


Standards development

·        Impacted changes to the tactics and strategy process used today by the Gila County Chief’s Association.

  • Implemented mutual aid by all departments in southern Gila County.

Contributions to fire service operations

  • Directed and funded the Tri-City Fire District Training Center.  This facility serves not only all of Gila County but a vast area of east/central Arizona as well.  Hundreds and hundreds of eager young men and women have used this facility to enhance their knowledge in the fire service.  This was the only facility within a hundred of miles for use as a live fire training prop.
  • Worked tirelessly to link all local fire departments by the use of mutual aid.
  • Worked hard at upgrading District ISO rating from 9 down to a 5.  Continued to work on upgrading local water system.
  • Upgraded District’s Emergency Medical System (district’s first EMT’s & CEP’s).


Contributions to the community

  • Pinal Sanitary District (mid 80’s – Present)
  • Currently serves on PSPRS local boards for both Tri-City and Globe Fire Departments.
  • Currently serves on the personnel board for the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Instituted the first Fire Prevention activities in our local schools.


Organizational contributions (national, state, or local)

  • Mitch sponsored a resolution to offer the District’s Training Room for use by the public for little league registration, girl scouts, senior citizens, church groups, census, and as a county voting station.
  • Mitch has always supported our Training program, hosting numerous local and state classes.


Legislative contributions (national, state, or local)


  • Member of the Pinal Sanitation District. 
  • 43 years of Fire Service. 
  • Volunteer November 1961 October 1995 and April 2001 to present.
  • Assistant Fire Chief or Fire Chief 1974 to 1995.
  • Helped form the Gila County Fire Chiefs Association.
  • Led firefighter’s in a door-to-door 9-1-1 rural addressing campaign, the first area in Gila County (1992). 
  • Upgraded District ISO Rating.
  • New Fire Station (1973).
  • 3 New Fire Engines.
  • Procured grants during career for extrication equipment, communications, and structural firefighting equipment.
  • Mitch is a friend, and one of the most unselfish, giving individuals that I have had the pleasure to associate with.  He has been my mentor, setting an example for all by contributing so much behind the scenes.  The fire service is immeasurably better because of his proactive involvement. 

            I believe fire chiefs of major cities are acknowledged more for their accomplishments than chiefs of rural areas, and rightly so.  Their need to protect a larger area and population is significant, but so are their additional resources.  As a chief of a rural community the goals are the same as that of a big city chief, but with significantly less to work with.  I think that Mitch Malkovich did a superior job as a fire chief, that he was ahead of his time with forward thinking by linking other departments with mutual aid, and for providing a first-class regional training facility to rural Arizona.  Mitch’s dreams of making the fire service and his community a better place have come true.  But as you can see, Mitch still hasn’t quit, as he’s still working hard today.  Mitch is a humble man, not the type to take credit for a job well done.  He has been a friend to hundreds of emergency service providers throughout this state; many will never be able to thank him enough for his help.  We should take this time to thank him because he took the time to make Arizona a better and safer place in which to live


Thank you and God Bless you Mitch.



Marco R. Olsen, Tri-City Fire District