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Meet Our R&R Coordinator: Nickolas Oatley

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Hello community members of Hermiston, Stanfield and the surrounding areas in Eastern Oregon that Umatilla County Fire District #1 serves. My name is Nickolas Oatley and as of December 16, 2020, I was offered and accepted a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant funded job opportunity through the Federal Emergency Management Agency that has allowed me to join the UCFD1 family as their Recruitment & Retention Coordinator.

As the recruitment and retention coordinator, I will be responsible for planning and executing all of our internal and external communications. I will also be in charge of overseeing all of our social media platforms and working to connect with stakeholders and constituents. Furthermore, my main task will be the recruitment and retention of career, volunteer, and resident interns for UCFD1. In doing so, I will be taking photos and videos of the men and women that represent our District. My goal is promote the great work that we do here and in turn, make people want to be apart of our family. I do not have a background in the fire service but I am eager to put in the work so I can understand what our crews go through on a daily basis.

I’d like to share some details about my own professional experiences. Prior to accepting this position, I primarily did a lot of photojournalism in the newspaper industry. Although these experiences taught me a lot and helped me get a large portfolio of work, I am looking forward to being a part of a collaborative work environment with the Fire District. I am an Ohio native that enjoys meeting new people and immersing myself into new experiences. In 2019, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication from Ohio University. Following my graduation, I started to make my way out West. From Kansas, to Salem, and now my home in Hermiston. I’ve enjoyed the journey along the way and look forward to establishing roots here in Eastern Oregon. My love for storytelling has brought me here and I’m fortunate to make a living doing what I enjoy the most; documenting people who are passionate about what they do. I’ve admired first responders since I was a kid when the Milford Fire Department would come to my elementary school. One firefighter in particular, nicknamed “Mailbox”, made a lasting impression on me. He took me under his wing during the fire station tours and was a true hero to me while I was growing up.

If any members of our community see me out and about, I would love to shake your hand and hear what we as a District can do for you. Everyone I have met so far has been so welcoming of my presence that after four months, I feel like I belong. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me directly. My email is: I look forward to getting to know all of you. All the best.

Thank you to Fire Chief Scott Stanton and Division Chief Richard Cearns for allowing me to be a part of the largest Fire District in all of Eastern Oregon. I am enthusiastic about being here and I can’t wait to see where the future takes us.

Photos taken by: Daniel Linhart