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Mudslide Debris Basin expert Tom Fayram retires

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It is ironic and somewhat befitting that Tom Fayram's last week on the job coincided with not one but two chances for rain in the forecast.

Randall Road Debris Basin with County Supervisor Das Williams (Courtesy: Tom Fayram)

"Well, I'll be around to help and I'll be watching," he said with a little laugh. "You know, we joke when it rains at night will I be sleeping or will I be up on the computer looking at how much rain? My guess is, for awhile, it'll be the latter. Hopefully soon it'll be the former."

Debris Basin with General Semonite, a 3 star General, Chief of the Corps of Engineers 2018 (Courtesy: Tom Fayram)

Fayram's reign as Water Resources Deputy Director ends Friday, December 10 following a 35 year run with the County of Santa Barbara. He and his colleagues were instrumental in overseeing, at one point, 16 debris basins on the South Coast and sediment basins in the North County.

Santa Maria River Levee with Colonel Coloton, Commander of the Los Angeles District, circa 2014 (Courtesy: Tom Fayram)

Fayram often accompanied high-level military leaders on local tours over the years, including Colonel Coloton at the Santa Maria River levee in 2014. And, in 2018, a week after the deadly Montecito mudslide disaster, three-star General Todd Semonite and Chief of Corps of Engineers.

Maintenance Crew circa 2000 (Courtesy: Tom Fayram)

"I just feel gratitude for being able to do the work. The county's been really good to me, the people I've met. There's been challenges but the reward and the satisfaction of completing that is just, you can't really put it into words. You have to experience it."

Fayram joins the ranks of other local leaders and First Responders who've retired since our back-to-back disasters: the 2017 Thomas Fire and 2018 Montecito Mudslides. He stood daily with the group that tirelessly oversaw the local and extraordinary emergency response.

Circa 2017 (Courtesy: Tom Fayram)

"You know, it's mixed emotions because I've spent a lot of my life here and it's part of you, it becomes part of you. It's just something that will rest in my heart."

Fayram said he is excited to spend more time with his family and travel to the far corners of the world with his wife, Kathy.

(Courtesy: Tom Fayram)
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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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