Earl “Dean” Smith was named the new Fire Chief of the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District on Saturday February 9, 2013.
The announcement was made by the VRFPD Board of Directors at the organization’s Annual Banquet.
“You have been chosen by the Board of Directors to become the Vernonia Rural Fire Protection District Fire Chief. You have been chosen for your leadership, desire to serve, education and commitment to this community,” said VRFPD Board member Don Shulte.
Shulte read Smith the oath of office. Board members Steve Weller and Terry Lindauer were also on hand. Smith’s wife Amy was invited to participate in the ceremony and was given the honor of pinning on Smith’s new badge.
Smith had been a volunteer with VRFPD who was promoted to Lieutenant in 2007 and then served as temporary Duty Officer when the previous Chief resigned. Smith was promoted to Deputy Chief four years ago and has been working to earn the qualifications needed to become the full time chief.
Shulte noted Smith’s work in developing an EMT certification program that has recruited several volunteers, making the city of Vernonia a safer place. “Not only has Dean met our requirements, he has exceeded them,” said Shulte.
“I first met Dean in 2007 during the flood,” Lindauer told the audience. “I saw a spark in this man’s eye back then and he has not let me down. From Lieutenant in 2007 to Fire Chief in 2013-that is not very many years. He has moved very fast and you should be very, very proud of this man. He has a vision for our department and let’s all get behind him and help him reach that vision.”
The VRFPD Banquet was held at the McMennamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove. The VRFPD gave several awards in recognition of outstanding service; winners were Rookie of the Year, Micheal Haley, Officer of the Year, Dan Hanson, Firefighter of the Year, Kara Kemper, Volunteer of the Year, Amy Smith.