Moberly Monitor-Index, Mo.
Mar. 2—Donald Ryan was formally hired March 1 by the Moberly City Council to become the new fire department chief.
His first day at the helm will be April 5 and Ryan succeeds George Albert, who retired Aug. 1 after four years serving as Moberly Fire Department Chief and a total of 38 years in the profession.
Since Albert’s departure, Jerry Washam temporarily transitioned from being captain to interim fire chief.
“We feel that Don Ryan will be very beneficial to the department. He has many years of fire-fighting experience, and his overall qualifications the people involved with the interview process believed Don Ryan would be the best choice,” said Brian Crane, Moberly City Manager.
There were 25 applicants for the fire chief’s position that carries a $70,000 salary.
Ryan is originally from Arthur, Ill. The 60-year old said he has been living in Middletown, Ia.where Ryan has been serving with the Burlington Fire Department since his career began in 1992. He earned the rank of deputy chief in 2015, and he also has been an Iowa paramedic since 1994.
Following Monday’s city council meeting, Ryan said he was looking for an opportunity for advancement with his fire fighting career and the department he was serving had younger men occupying such positions. As a result, Ryan said he doubted his chances of climbing the administrative ladder at his hometown area and began exploring other opportunities.
“I did not see chances for advancement for me there. I found that if I found a place outside the state of Iowa that I could retire from the state of Iowa’s system and yet continue my pursuit of a fire chief’s position elsewhere,” Ryan said. “Moberly attracted me in that it’s a smaller community and fire department is smaller than where I have been living and working. I wanted to stay in the midwest region and somewhat close because my children and their families live in Iowa.”
Ryan said he will be transitioning from a Burlington, Ia. fire department that was nearly twice the size of Moberly’s. It also served as the headquarters for both the ambulance district and 911 service covering more territory compared to Moberly’s emergency management structure.
Although no specific ideas of change or what short-term items he wants to address during his first six months on the job were identified by Ryan, he did mention a few things in general nature that he may look into that may help strengthen the department’s operations further.
“I know there is some little room for improvement no matter where you go. This holds true where I’ve been at Burlington. I had a meet-and-greet with the Moberly fire department personnel earlier (Monday) and they seem to be a very good, knowledgeable group. I believe there may be some things that we need to improve upon in basic day-to-day operations that may help things somewhat,” Ryan said. “The first thing I want to do is to get to know the people that I will be working with and learn more about the direction they want to move towards. I want them to learn that they can trust me as I will be there to support and back them. I will be an avenue, trying to make things go well and look to improve in areas where we can. Next, I will want to learn the system to see areas that are working well and where improvements could be made.”
In April, Ryan and his wife Shari will have been married 33 years. They have three children and five grandchildren. Their son Scott Coursey and his wife Stephanie live in Fort Madison, Ia. Daughters Jessica Cheeley and her husband Bill live in Grimes, Ia. while Meghan Evans and husband Colton live in Danville, Ia.
Ryan has earned many fire certifications throughout his career including Firefighter I & II, Fire Instructor I & II, Fire Officer I & II, and HazMat Technician. He obtained his Bachelor of Science Fire Administration degree from Columbia Southern University in 2017.
Ryan said he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, working on rehab projects, motorcycling, and watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
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