By Randy Fogg
Moundridge Ledger – April 7, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – May 5, 2016
Neal Schierling, of Inman, was asked to move into the role of fire chief for McPherson County Fire District No. 5, which includes the City of Inman.
The other volunteer firefighters voted Schierling as chief, effective at the start of this year. The first district board then offered Schierling the appointment.
“I prefer it that way,” Schierling said. “It’s for the best to be elected by the people who you are going to lead.
“It’s a good way to start building a good working relationship with them,” he added.
Schierling follows Dennis Schroeder as chief. Schroeder spent 42-years as chief.
The fire department board is hosting a reception to recognize Schroeder from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 10, at the Inman Community Building, at Lambert Park.
Schierling started with the department as a volunteer firefighter in May of 1996.
“My dad was a member of the fire department,” Schierling said. “At the time, it seemed like something exciting to do.
“It is a good way to serve the community, to give back to the community,” he continued. “I’ve had a lot of people do things for me. This is something I can do in return.”
Schierling said it helps residents to have familiar faces around when they are dealing with a fire or medical emergency.
After spending eight years as a firefighter, Schierling was promoted to captain and two years later he became the department’s assistant chief.
The district has around 20 volunteers. Schierling said it has not been necessary to create a list of firefighters who are on call for each shift. He noted there have always been enough firefighters available to respond when an emergency takes place.
“So far it’s worked pretty well,” he added.
Schierling said he is working on learning all his duties as chief.
“There’s a learning curve,” he noted. “I have big shoes to fill. I’m getting use to being on the other side of the podium at meetings. It’s going well so far.”
However, he said the department could always use more volunteer firefighters. The majority of the members have been with the department for 10 years or less.
The department usually averages 160 to 180 calls each year.
On Wednesday, March 23, he said the department responded to six calls.
“They all stepped up and handled themselves pretty well,” Schierling said. “Everyone did their jobs and did their jobs well.”
Schierling said Schroeder left the department “in good shape.”
He added Schroeder developed a 20-year rotation for replacing vehicles in the department. He explained Schroeder’s rotation plan should not create any financial hardships. There are several years between vehicle replacements, giving the department time to build up the necessary funds.
“He’s done an excellent job,” Schierling said. “He had some real foresight in his planning.”
Schierling said he would like to serve as chief for as long as 20- to-30 years.
“As long as they’re happy with the job I’m doing, I’m happy to be here,” Schierling said.
Schierling has a cattle operation and he also grow crops.
His wife is Donnie and he has three stepchildren: Payton, age 15; J.W., age 11; and Cash, age 9.
Schierling said he was appreciative of the community’s support for the department as well as the assistance from the families of firefighters.
“It’s nice to have people who are willing to run to something that most people would run away from,” Schierling said.
Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster