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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Marion Township Fire Chief Paul Gillespie steps down but will remain on the fire department

MITCHELL - FEBRUARY 12, 2024 - Marion Township Fire Chief Paul Gillespie has stepped down but will remain with the fire department.

Gillespie has been fire chief for almost eight years strengthening the fire department roster, adding fire equipment and lowering the fire protection rating for the community.

Chief Gillespie reflects during his tenure as fire chief.

Gillespie's departure will not affect the plans for the establishment of a fire territory with Spice Valley Township South, and Marion Township. The City of Mitchell have moved the fire territory discussion on to a public hearing.

Photo: Marion Township Fire Chief Paul Gillespie stepped down as fire chief effective at midnight Monday February 12th

"When I took the position of Fire Chief I made a list of 5 things I wanted to get accomplished in my time as Fire Chief. I wanted to get a full roster and maintain it (that was accomplished) in fact I had to request the board to up our membership by 5 due to all the applications. I wanted to lower our ISO score from a 9/10, we achieved a rating of 8B (Not as low as I wanted, but it was also accomplished). I wanted to see us get a ladder truck (that was accomplished). The other 2 were a new fire station and a fire territory. Both of which are now at the goal line and on the cusp of being a reality. I feel I have achieved the 5 goals I had set for myself in 2017," said Gillespie.

Photo: Marion Township recently purchased a rescue truck

"I would like to thank the public for your support for the Firefighters and Officers of the Marion Twp Fire Dept. for the last 7 years and 42 days that I have been Fire Chief of the Marion Twp Fire Dept. I have reached the decision that the focus of my time would be better directed elsewhere at this point in my life,"

Photo: With the expansion of Lehigh and with Spring Mill State Park a ladder truck was needed and has already been used several times

"The Firefighters and Officers here are dedicated to putting aside feelings, rumors, hardships and are focused on doing what they said they would do…protect lives and property while placing themselves between the citizen and the danger. I have seen them do it countless times since 2017. I couldn't be prouder of all of the Firefighters at Marion Township Fire Dept.," added Gillespie

"They do not do these things so that they can beat on their chests and say “look what I did” or for personal gain as some others do. They do what all real Firefighters do, they go about their work with humility and quiet devotion to their tasks. Not looking for praise or personal gain from anybody except their fellow Firefighters and a “look at what WE did”. Which shows the true caliber of their character, non-boastful, non-bragging knowing it's not about awards and praises from anybody except their fellow Firefighters. Those that search for constant praise in the Fire service do not belong in the fire service. As they are dangerous and more concerned with personal gain and praise from others than what the job is supposed to be about,"

Gillespie has served as a mentor to the newest firefighters."

" What the job is supposed to be about is the person that is having the emergency. Treating every person we come in contact with like we are treating a member of our own family. That is what I have taught these young Firefighters and I hope I have led them by example.

I’m not conceited enough to think that the department will fall apart without me at the helm. One thing I do know is that almost anybody can lead these Firefighters and Officers because they know what needs to be done and will meet any challenge thrown at them.

"They will excel in chaotic situations in spite of anything placed in their way. They will exceed expectations at every turn. I have no doubt in my mind of their knowledge, skills and abilities," Concluded Gillespie.

Gillespie's successor will assume the responsibilities of the Marion Twp Fire Dept. at Midnight February 12, 2024.

Dane Fountain will be the next fire chief of Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department.

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