After 31 years, Dave Wenthold is ready to step down as Waucoma's fire chief
WAUCOMA (KWWL) -
Dave Wenthold grew up in Waucoma. In 1976, he started a business in town and volunteered with the fire department. Then in 1983, he was named chief.
Fellow firefighters said Wenthold is a leader and a good communicator.
"He's been a great role model. Being assistant chief, he's very good at showing how to lead a group and keep a group like this," said Brad Wickham.
Dave Wenthold said the people are one of the main reasons he's stayed on as chief for more than three decades. There are 22 active firefighters and 15 active first responders, all volunteer.
"I've got a crew right now they're just fun to work with, so it's really enjoyable," said Dave Wenthold.
Firefighters said the Waucoma Fire Department wouldn't be what it is today without Wenthold. He helped get a new building constructed in 1991. Then Wenthold worked to get better equipment. He took the time to write grant requests for funding, which resulted in nearly $400,000 worth of equipment. There are four trucks at the fire station. The oldest is a 2005, and the pumper truck is only about three years old. He also applied for FEMA grants for gear.
"I've said this before to him as well, but if the world had a few more Dave Wentholds in it, it'd be a lot better. He's just a great person," said Mike Kime.
After 31 years as chief, though, Wenthold said he's ready to step down.
"I'm going to retire at the end of this year as fire chief. I'm still a fireman. I'll still be there, but it's time to train somebody else. 31 years is enough. That's more than half my life as fire chief so enough's enough," said Wenthold.
Dave Wenthold said he simply wanted to leave the fire department and his community better than when he started. He can't thank the firefighters, first responders, and community members enough for all their support in his efforts.
Besides the fire department, Dave Wenthold is active with many community organizations and committees. He's currently helping to raise $550,000 for a new events center in Waucoma.
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