Names in the News: November 28, 2021

This bi-weekly series is dedicated to the latest promotions and other news within the fire service.

STEVE KLOTZ was named the new chief of the Tinley Park (IL) Fire Department (TPFD). Klotz had been acting as the TPFD’s interim chief since July. He is a 40-plus-year fire service veteran who most previously worked as battalion chief for the Bedford Park (IL) Fire Department. Klotz joined the village of Tinley Park in 1993 and was serving as its deputy chief of fire suppression since 2013. He was instrumental in converting the volunteer fire department to a part-time organization in 2001 and oversaw the construction and operation of Fire Station 47. Klotz also holds the Chief Fire Officer certification.

PATRICK CONNOR was hired as the new assistant chief of the Plain Township Fire Department (PTFD) in Stark County, Ohio, on November 23. He succeeds previous PTFD Assistant Chief Jack Rupp, who recently retired after a 48-year fire service career. Connor had been serving as chief of the Newark (OH) Fire Department since February 2015, where he has been a member since 1993. He is also an EMT-paramedic, has completed the Ohio Fire Executive program, and is a credentialed fire chief through the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association. He will officially join the PTFD on January 17, 2022.

THOMAS MURPHY JR. was named the new chief of the Haines City (FL) Fire Department (HCFD). Murphy Jr. is a 33-year fire service veteran who has been with the HCFD since 2018. He previously served as the HCFD’s deputy chief and fire marshal. Murphy Jr. began his career with Palm Beach County (FL) Fire before moving on to Boynton Beach (FL) Fire Rescue, where worked for 27 years, eventually becoming its chief. He is also a founding member of Boynton Beach’s Honor Guard while serving on several special operations and task forces.

RANDY VESPER was named the new chief of the Port Huron Township (MI) Fire Department (PHTFD). Vesper, a third-generation firefighter, joined the PHTFD in July as a firefighter. He began his fire career at the age of 18 as a paid-on-call firefighter with the Kenockee Township Fire Department, where his father worked during a 55-year fire service career. More than five years later, Vesper joined the St. Clair Shores Fire Department, where he was a member for the next 25 years, eventually moving up the ranks to become its battalion chief. He succeeds previous PHTFD Chief Dan Mainguy. 

MARC RATHWELL announced his retirement as chief of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) Fire and Emergency Services (LFES) after working more than 27 years with the department. Rathwell was first hired in 1996 as a paramedic firefighter and moved up the ranks, taking on several roles within the LFES, before assuming the role of chief in 2019. Among his most important contributions to the department was the construction of the new fire station in west Lethbridge. His final day with the LFES will be February 11, 2022.

To feature yourself or a fellow member in “Names in the News,” please send an e-mail with the information (60-100 words) and a high-resolution photo of the member with the subject line “NITN” to


Names in the News: November 14, 2021

Names in the News: October 31, 2021

Names in the News: October 17, 2021

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