Baldwin - The City of Baldwin has a new Assistant Fire Chief and his name is Chad Keener.
During Monday’s City of Baldwin meeting, Fire Chief Joe Roy made the official announcement, promoting Keener as his right-hand man.
Roy talked about Keener to the audience and council, saying Keener “started volunteering as a firefighter for Stephens County when he turned 18 years old. He stayed with Stephens county for 11 years then went on as full-time firefighter with the City of Toccoa and spent four years there.”
Keener began working part-time at Baldwin Fire Department in 2010 “in March 2013, we were able to hire Chad as a full-timer,” Roy says.
During an interview, Keener went on to talk about his past with firefighters.
“As a kid, my dad was a fireman, and it’s been a part of life ever since,” Keener said. “I guess to me it’s kind of a thing you’re born into. You don’t really wake up one day and decide you’re going to do it. I went to Toccoa – that’s where my dad started.”
Keener goes on to talk about why he left the Toccoa Fire Department, saying “I quit for a short time because of money. Firemen don’t make what they should.”
It wasn’t long after Keener left Toccoa that he found himself back in the fire service.
“It’s just a way of life. It’s more of a calling,” Keener says.
“Over the next seven years, Chad continued to prove himself and received promotions, up to the rank of captain in April 2016, ” Roy said. “Over the last seven years, Chad has been directing the City of Baldwin Fire Department Fire Prevention Program for the children at Baldwin Elementary School and Habersham Pre-K School.”
Roy goes on, saying “This program gives out children the ability to learn the basic fundamentals of escaping and preventing fires.”
Roy goes on to say Chad came to him with the idea of Public Safety Day, which he agreed to. “Now we’ll be doing our 5th successful year this year.”
Public Safety Day will be on May 23rd from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Roy goes on to tell the audience and council more about the initiative Keener has been a part of.
“Chad has also started, three years ago, working with the police department getting the elderly people at Habersham Retreat a gift basket during Christmastime as a token of appreciation for their lives,” Roy said.
“Chad was also one of the ones to start the departments smoke detector program,” Roy says. This program has helped the department install smoke detectors for needy families.
“There’s so much to talk about when it comes to Chad,” Roy says. “He’s done a lot for this community. He’s done a lot for this department.”
Keener talks about the reasoning behind all the initiatives he’s been a part of, saying “I just want to see what’s best for the community.”
One program the fire department takes part in is the Shop with a Hero day that allows community children to shop with local police or firefighter.
“To see those kids go in and actually be so happy just to get new shoes, or a jacket, or clothes, that makes it worth it all,” Keener says.
Even though his official title will change, Kenner talks about what this promotion means to him.
“It’s not just a promotion. You’re doing it for your community, not yourself and everything you do reflects your community and your city,” Keener says. “You’ve got to be very community-minded.”