|New chief at helm of Grant Volunteer Fire Department|
By Jan Goff
As of Jan. 1, the Grant Volunteer Fire Department is under the leadership of newly elected Fire Chief Wade Rahn.
Although nervous and excited, Rahn has the background and experience to serve the department in the capacity and is looking forward to the challenge. He replaces Fred Reichert who served the GVFD as chief for five years.
The new chief will provide leadership for 28 volunteers of the department, a number that he hopes will grow.
“We’re shorthanded on the emergency medical services side, and always looking for more members,” said Rahn.
He has been a member of the fire department since April 1996 and served as senior fire captain for the past four years prior to becoming chief. He is firefighter 1 certified as well as an emergency medical technician (EMT).
Both firefighting and serving as an EMT are his passions, but with his new capacity as chief, he will become the incident commander at emergency scenes and won’t be hands-on.
Rahn, who was elected to the position on Dec. 1, 2008 said he will definitely miss being a participating first responder.
“That was one of the major factors holding me back from doing this,” he said. However, with his expertise and the bottom line being saving a life or burning structure, he will become actively involved if a situation requires it.
During the time Rahn has been a fireman/EMT, he has served the department as an officer in several capacities, including vice president, fire lieutenant, fire captain, ambulance lieutenant, and most recently as senior fire captain.
The past year has been an active one for volunteer members of the department, having responded to nearly 210 calls. Rahn is ready to take on the challenge of serving as chief of a smooth-running, well-experienced department.
“I am really excited about getting to work with a great group of people like this,” he said. “I am sure the job will throw me some curve balls, but they will be dealt with.”
Rahn commends former Fire Chief Reichert for the job he did over the past few years and appreciates his efforts. Reichert chose not to run for the chief’s position again. He was serving in the chief’s capacity during 2007 when the department had its busiest year ever with 276 calls. Up to 180 calls annually is an average figure for the GVFD.
Rahn has no immediate goals for the department other than keeping it at its current level of highly trained personnel. He is diligently working toward becoming familiar with the many tasks required of his new position.
In May 2007, Rahn became the 20th GVFD firefighter receiving an “Outstanding Firemanship” award. The honor, established in 1883, is presented annually at Nebraska State Fire School to 10 outstanding firefighters across the state. The last Grant fireman to receive the award was his father, Harlan Rahn, who received it five years prior.
Through the years, the department has been well represented in achieving this status. Other members receiving the award include Grant Keller, Fred Upright, Tobe Hansen, Gene Mitchem, Keith Ballentine, Paul Biggs, Wesley Wilson, Rodney Hutt, Don Softley, Ken Pankonin, Robert Bounds, Billy Wilson, Steve Bliss, Ole Sihm, Bryan Kroeker Rick Ochsner, Lewis Forbes, and Larry Appel.
The 30-year-old newly elected fire chief is a 1996 Grant High School graduate who returned in the fall of 1998 to join The Plumbing Guys as the company’s heating and air conditioning expert, serving as vice president of the business he shares with his father.
His wife Lorie works at Perkins County Health Services. Their sons, Christopher and Wesley, attend Perkins County Elementary.