Chad Russell views his selection as the new fire chief of Andover as a homecoming.
“I am from Udall, so that whole area is home for me,” he said. “I have a lot of friends and family in the area.”
Russell will be bringing “home” with him 25 years of experience which began as a volunteer in Udall. He also is a certified critical care paramedic.
Looking back at his career, while at Udall he earned a promotion to the rank of lieutenant. Following that, he went to work at Cherryvale as a lieutenant, then was promoted to captain. From there he worked for the Kansas City Fire Department for three years, returning to Cherryvale as a captain, then being promoted to first assistant chief and now serving as chief.
“I’ve been here for 20 years,” Russell said of Cherryvale. “I’ve been the chief here for a little over a year and I was deputy chief seven years before that.”
Russell will be replacing Andover Fire Chief Jim Shaver, who is retiring on Feb. 1.
“I think that I am very, very lucky to be taking over this particular fire department,” Russell said. “From all appearances, Chief Shaver and the entire staff have done an absolutely fantastic job of building and maintaining a very good fire department.
“I kind of view Andover as an energetic, young community. Being involved in something like that sounds very exciting to me.”
Russell, who earned an associate’s degree in fire science from the Kansas City Kansas Community College, will begin with the city of Andover on Feb. 10.
When asked how he got interested in fire fighting, Russell said, “I think all little boys want to be firemen, so I’m sure I wanted to do that.”
After getting involved, Russell found he loved the job.
“I think God made me only good at a few things in life,” he said. “I’m not an artist, I can’t write a novel. I can’t water ski. I have an absolute natural talent for my chosen profession. I am a very good paramedic am a very good fire fighter. Over years I have developed my leadership abilities. I really can’t imagine doing anything else.”
He said he and his family is looking forward to making the move to Andover.
The Andover Fire Department is a combination department made up of 14 career, four part-time and 11 volunteer firefighters who respond to a variety of emergency incidents.
Page 2 of 2 - “Chad’s experience in the fire service, his current position as chief in Cherryvale and his involvement in professional associations have prepared him well for this leadership role,” City Administrator Sasha Stiles said. “Although we will certainly miss Chief Shaver, I believe Chad will lead our Fire Department well in the future.”
In 2012, the Andover Fire Department responded to 85 fires, 104 service calls, 154 good intent calls, 64 other type calls, and 891 rescue/medical calls. The Fire Department also spends time educating the public about fire prevention. Visit the Fire Department online at www.andoverks.com/fire.
Julie Clements can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.