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Mike Rice retires PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 September 2014 09:49

Mike Rice grabs some of the food available at Wednesday’s reception.


County fire chief Rice retires after 32 years


• Leader & Times


Since the early 1980s, if there’s been a fire in rural Seward County, one face could usually be seen among those battling the blaze.

As of Friday, that face will no longer be seen fighting fires for the county. Fire chief Mike Rice will be leaving Southwest Kansas, and after handling numerous calls over the years, he will going to a business similar to the one he has been working in for some time.

“I’m going to work for a company out of Snyder, Neb. – Danko Fire Equipment, selling fire equipment,” he said.

Rice said the decision to leave Seward County has been something he and his wife, Vickie, have been considering for some time.

“It’s something my wife and I have been talking about on and off over the last couple of years,” he said. “I’m kind of looking forward to having a little more free time and being able to do stuff.”

A reception was hosted for Rice Wednesday in the commission chambers in the county’s Administration Building, and administrator April Warden praised Rice’s service to the county, calling the soon-to-be former fire chief “instrumental” in his position.

“He’s been with us for 32 years,” Warden said.  “Very knowledgeable, very kind. It takes a special kind of person to do a position like that. It’s going to be hard to see him go.”

Warden herself has worked with Rice for the entire 14 years she has been with the county, and she said it is hard to lose someone like Rice, who she said has been an asset to both the county and the local workforce.

“We’re going to miss his expertise and the knowledge that he brought to the position, not only with the years of experience that he had behind him but the drive and the passion that he had for the position to want to take care of people and to help people, to do the job that he did,” Warden said.

At Tuesday’s county commission meeting, the board voted to hire John Steckel on an interim basis as fire chief. Warden said advertisements have been put out to accept resumes and applications through Sept. 22 to find a permanent fire chief.

“We’ll be going through those applications,” Warden said. “The commissioners plan to discuss naming a committee of people that will probably be involved in that hiring process.”

The administrator said who is going to be on the committee has yet to be determined, but she believes members will likely include one commissioner, Warden herself, the chairman of the county’s fire board and maybe a couple of community members.

“I don’t know if that will happen yet,” she said. “That’s in the preliminary phase right now. We will be accepting applications and resumes through the 22nd, and I will be reviewing those and determining who we will be taking from that into the interview process from that.”

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About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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