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Fire Chief Bill Killen

Fire Chief Bill Killen
Join host Chris Baker as he discusses the history of the fire service with Fire Chief Bill Killen (ret.) President/CEO of the National Fire Heritage Center and why it's important to learn about the history of the fire service. This episode is dedicated to the men and women that built the American Fire Service. President Bill Killen is a Fire & ...
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National Fire Heritage Center

Chris Baker (left) with National Fire Heritage Center Founding President, Chief Ronny J. Coleman (right). (author photo) Chris Baker (left) with National Fire Heritage Center Founding President, Chief Ronny J. Coleman (right). (author photo)

 “The ultimate role of a firefighter is to leave a mark on the system, not just a memory.” - Chief Ronny J. Coleman

 

On Monday, October 8th, 2018, I had the privilege of walking the aisles of the National Fire Heritage Center archives with Archivist Frank Schmersal and, I captured a glimpse of the rich history contained in this American fire service archive. From aisle to aisle, I listened to the oral history through the various stories from Archivist Schmersal. The National Fire Heritage Center archives contain more than 15,000 items of media, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, photographs, and what I consider treasures of the American fire service.

My journey through these archives was a journey through the history of the American fire service, and I thoroughly appreciate the rich history of our beloved fire service. After a few minutes with Archivist Schmersal, I realized that someone had to preserve these relics of the American fire service. After further reflection, I began to understand that it was a whole team of curators from the National Fire Heritage Center that contributed an immense amount of time and labor to this incredible archive.

During the Annual Meeting, I was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Fire Heritage Center. The appointment to the Board of Directors comes with the responsibility to carry on and preserve the rich history of the American fire service. Chief Ronny J. Coleman, the founding President of the National Fire Heritage Center, remarked that the creation of the National Fire Heritage Center is what he considers a highlight from his sixty-year career in the fire service. As I was listening to Chief Coleman eloquently describe this highlight of his career, the appointment to the Board of Directors for me is a highlight of my career.

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