Fishing, hunting, mayoral duties on horizon as longtime fire chief retires

By Kari Blurton
Hays Post – April 16, 2015

Retired ECRF Dick Klaus holds a picture of him holding several catches. “All the fish were thrown back in the water,” he said.

Retired ECRF Dick Klaus holds a picture of him holding several catches. “All the fish were thrown back in the water,” he said.

Retired ECRF Chief Dick Klaus as Shoenchen Rural Fire Chief in the 1980s.

Retired ECRF Chief Dick Klaus as Shoenchen Rural Fire Chief in the 1980s.

Retired ECRF Dick Klaus presents a plaque honoring him as Fire Chief of the Year in 2012.

Retired ECRF Dick Klaus presents a plaque honoring him as Fire Chief of the Year in 2012.

Tuesday marked the last day of 36 years of service to the Ellis County Rural Fire Department, as Director Dick Klaus retired.

Klaus started his career as a volunteer for the ECRF company in Schoenchen and was appointed director in 1992. He said he will not miss the fires, but he will miss the people he has worked with.

“Over the years, I have had a lot of firefighters come and go, some that were here when I came on and still here, and they are a great bunch of guys. They know what they are doing, and I think the world of them,” Klaus said. “I have met a lot of different people on fires that I didn’t know before from being on their property, so it’s been an experience.”

Klaus said he his proud he is leaving ECRF better off than when he came on board, noting one of his proudest moments over the years is obtaining new equipment for his firefighters, including new water tender trucks last spring that ECRF to arrive to rural fires with enough water to extinguish fires in a rural areas.

“And we used them too,” he said, recalling how new equipment was critical in fighting last year’s string of arson fires.

Klaus said he does not imagine his life being much different after retirement except he will have “less paperwork” and more time to enjoy his favorite hobbies — fishing, hunting and spending time on his farm 10 miles west of Schoenchen.

Fellow colleague and fishing buddy Bill Ring, who serves as Ellis County Director of Emergency Management, said Klaus will be missed.

“He’s been a great asset to the county,” Ring said. “But I think he is going to enjoy his retirement. I think he has put in the years and deserves be able to go out and fish, hunt play at his farm and not have to worry about responding in the middle of the night like we all do.”

Klaus will also serve as mayor of Schoenchen after being elected to the position April 7 and will continue to be on hand to help mentor his replacement, former Hays Fire Department firefighter Darin Myers.

“I have spent the last few weeks getting as much advice as I can from (Klaus),” Myers said. “He has said several times I will be able to call if I need him. … He will still be around to help out — that will be good.”



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