For Bosque Farms volunteer Fire Chief Spencer Wood, his time with the department began with five words from his father-in-law, Ronnie Roberts, who was a member of the department for 13 years.
“I’m out and you’re in,” Roberts told Wood.
Now, the journey that began with that sentence in 1983 has led to more than three decades of service to the community.
Wood is now in his 15th year as the fire chief for the village of Bosque Farms. It was something that he had never considered doing prior to Roberts volunteering him for the department, but it turned into a passion and a way for Wood to give back to his community.
“My parents were always involved in the community,” Wood said. “My wife (Ronita Wood) is involved; she’s a village councilor, and two of our boys were on the force with me for awhile.”
When his time with the department began, he and Ronita had just moved back to the area from Texas, where they were living while she went to school.
During that time, he worked for Texas Instruments, but as she neared graduation, the two decided that they wanted to return home to Valencia County and moved to Bosque Farms.
The couple lived next door to her parents, who were involved within Bosque Farms in its formative years, as Ronnie served as a village councilor following incorporation in the 1970s. He also served with the fire department and on the planning and zoning commission.
Ronita’s mother, Kathy Roberts, was a teacher for nearly 25 years at both Bosque Farms Elementary and Los Lunas High School. She served the village on the fair board as well, establishing a legacy of giving back to the community that the Woods have continued and passed down to their children.
Ronita followed in her mother’s footsteps and was a teacher at Peralta Elementary for 30 years. She has also served on the fair board and is nearing completion of her first term as councilor.
Wood, who was born in Belen and raised in Los Lunas, works as a contractor, building and remodeling homes around Valencia County in addition to handling all of the design work, which helps him as a firefighter because he can assess where the fire will spread next and the critical supports that need to be protected.
For many years, Wood took more calls than anyone else in the department, but as he’s gotten older, he has begun to focus more on the administrative side of running the department.
However, he said he still ranks second or third in most calls taken, as that’s the part that is most rewarding. He approaches a call a bit like a puzzle, trying to figure out where the team’s efforts will be most effective.
Wood says they try to figure out the best way to keep the fire from spreading and limiting the damage as much as they can.
The Bosque Farms Fire Department, which has an all-volunteer crew, has grown considerably under his leadership and he has helped increase the Insurance Service Organization rating of the department from a class five to a class three fire department.
The ISO rating is one piece of the formula used by insurance companies to help set homeowners insurance rates, and the improvement in the department’s rating can help lower insurance costs for residents within the jurisdiction.
As chief, Wood plays a role in everything the department does, from helping to recruit new volunteers to setting the training program for them, along with his administrative and firefighting responsibilities.
Sometimes Wood wishes that he had pursued firefighting on a full-time basis, joking that it would be nice to have the retirement, but said he’s been blessed to be able to serve Bosque Farms for so long.
“For me, the reward in this job is being able to help somebody who is having a really bad day and being able to make it a little bit better,” Wood said.
Being fire chief isn’t all that he has done for the community; he’s coached youth sports for a time and is always willing to help out a neighbor in need.
Bosque Farms Mayor Wayne Ake, who nominated Wood as an Unsung Hero, highlighted the countless hours he’s put in with the department as well as the lesser known volunteer activities he does, such as paying a visit to a sick child and checking up on senior citizens in order to provide them with any support they may need.
Wood sees this all as a way to give back to the community he’s called home for most of his life and is proud to point out that the fire department has become a family affair.
“We have six or seven father and son pairs in the department,” Wood said. “Plus one mother, father and son team.”
Wood’s decades of service to the community have not gone unnoticed, and while he doesn’t do this for praise or recognition, he said he was honored to be nominated as an Unsung Hero, a title he has certainly earned.