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The Chillicothe Voice

Why I Joined Chillicothe Community Fire Protection District - Dave Price

Jun 30, 2023 02:06PM ● By Dave Price, Assistant Chief/Fire Marshall
It was in a different era when I joined the Chillicothe Fire Department in 1974. My father and mother were both deeply involved in our church and my father, always helping friends and co-workers with projects, also sat on the Chillicothe Library Board and at one time ran for election on the IVC School Board. I was brought up with the expectation to volunteer and help others.

I graduated from IVC in 1971 and went right into college at WIU. My major was Law Enforcement Administration. Even then, I had set my sights on working in the emergency response field. In the summer of 1974, I was home from school and took a job with Caterpillar working second shift in the factory. I had several friends and church acquaintances in the fire department, and at their urging, I went to Station 1 and talked to Chief Mike Myers. That was all it took. I was hooked on the fire department and signed up as a firefighter. That was 49 years ago this month.

My membership in the fire department has been the conduit for job advancement at Caterpillar, the opportunity to travel, and the experience of meeting some of the most interesting people in the world. In 1976 I realized that I should finish my degree at WIU, so I leveraged my knowledge and experience in the fire service into a career with the US Air Force as a Fire/Crash/Rescue Specialist. I retired from the Air Guard in 1997. During my military career, I completed my degree from WIU.

In the years I have served in the Chillicothe Fire Department, I have learned that you are not in this alone as a firefighter. You have your brother and sister firefighters, and your family has a stake in your career. Without the support from family members, a firefighter’s career would be short-lived. This is why every year at our awards banquet, it’s not as much about the firefighter as it is about the wives and significant others that support their participation.

In 2019 I told the members that my success and longevity in the fire department were due to finding a branch of the fire service that I could grow into and continue to serve after my time as a Hoseman. I chose the avenue of Investigations and Inspections. This area of the fire service has allowed me to become friends with many interesting people, such as the lead investigator for the Chicago Fire Department, Mike Dechelman, and the technical advisor to Robert Deniro in the movie Backdraft, Bobby Cosgrove.

All said, being on the Chillicothe Fire Dept has been the most satisfying and enjoyable career in my many years of fire service. I don’t know how much longer I will serve, but through the present time, I have enjoyed every bit of it.