Reno County Commission honors retiring fire chief

By Adam Stewart
Hutchinson News – September 27, 2016

Before appointing his successor Tuesday, Reno County Commission took time to recognize the long career of service by Fire District 3 Fire Chief Kenneth Burgess.

Burgess said he has been with the fire district, which operates out of Nickerson, for 45 years, including 30 years as chief. A fight against cancer has largely sidelined Burgess from going to calls recently, but he told commissioners that his latest check-up showed no growth in the cancer.

He said the first thing he had to do after becoming fire chief was prepare the budget, and nobody who was on the department with him had ever even seen the budget. He had to pinch pennies to keep the fire district well-equipped.

“Not quite a roller coaster ride, but there’s been highs and there’s been lows,” he said of his time with the department.

He said a house fire in Nickerson that killed two people was an especially tough time.

Burgess recommended appointing Bobby White to be his successor. Burgess said he has tried to help White prepare for the job.

Before taking action on Burgess’ recommendation, though, the commission presented him with a plaque recognizing his long service. Commission Chairman Dan Deming said the number of people Burgess has helped in those 45 years is uncountable.

Commissioners accepted Burgess’ recommendation and appointed White as fire chief for Fire District 3. White said he has been part of the fire district for about 29 years.

“Kenny’s the only fire chief I’ve ever known,” he said.

White said the fire district is well-positioned with the foundation Burgess laid and a good amount of youth among the firefighters.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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