Born and raised in Willits, Chief Wilkes completed his education through the Willits Unified School District and continued on to Santa Rosa Junior College. After college he co-owned a successful automotive repair facility, an equipment rental business and was an auto shop teacher for the Mendocino County Office of Education at Willits High School. In his spare time he has enjoyed a fruitful 2nd career as a crew member for professional drag racing team that placed a best of number 2 in the world over the last seven years, and is the clutch specialist for a record setting nostalgia nitro funny car team. At the age of 21 he joined the Little Lake Fire Protection District as a volunteer firefighter. From there he managed to work his way through the ranks of the fire district by means of education, dedication and hard work. He is now the very proud Fire Chief of 40 strong volunteers, an amazing board of directors and a beautiful 240 square mile fire district that includes the City of Willits.