I always had an interest as a kid. I lived down the street from a couple of firefighters, Jim Fry and Dick Lamb, when I was really young. As I graduated high school, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do and started taking an EMT class. I became more associated with fire and EMS through that. I started talking to some of the people whom I knew were already on the fire department and applied. I graduated EMT school in June of 1981, turned 22 in September, and got hired and started Nov. 6 of ’81. So it was a busy year.
Let’s face it: We started this in February and it’s now November, and it’s worse than what it was at our worst peak in May and June. I think the hardest thing has been for us…the way we work, we work 24-hour shifts. We live like a family, so the whole social distancing and COVID practices become harder for us. We had to change a lot of what we do. We have plexiglass separations at the tables. You saw the plexiglass in my office. Just things like that that don’t blend very well when you live like a family, to be honest.
I’m on the board of directors for the state chiefs association, and then I’m also the chairman of the Indiana Fire Alliance. The Fire Alliance is a group of the largest fire service organizations in the state. I’m also on the board of the Great Lakes Division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
It really is the best job in the world for me. I couldn’t see myself doing anything different, truly. There are different challenges when you’re the chief and the boss, when it comes to the policy side of things. I still love to go on calls. The people you meet and the people you work with are just outstanding people.
All of my family is here. It’s my hometown. I love the atmosphere. I really enjoy what I see happening downtown, the atmosphere for downtown. Serving on some boards across the state, I get to talk to different chiefs and different people. Often, I’m asked questions or hear comments, ‘How do you keep the downtown as vibrant as it is with that really good feel that you have in downtown Goshen?’ It usually ends up in a really good discussion.
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