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Rinehart Honored
Published: Tuesday, December 16, 2008, C-T

CAPTION: With members of the Chillicothe Department of Emergency Services and family members surrounding him, Joe Rinehart (seated, third from left), receives an engraved axe from Les Hinnen (right), former president of the Professional Firefighters of Chillicothe, Local 2460. The union hosted the event honoring the retiring CDES director at the Calvary Baptist Church youth building Saturday night. Also during the evening, Rinehart received a resolution from the 94th General Assembly, signed by the Missouri Speaker of the House Rod Jetton and 7th District State Representative John Quinn. Rinehart's badge number, 300, was also retired and Rinehart also received his fire helmet, fire boots, and a framed fire department picture.

C-T Photo/Laura Schuler

Veteran Fire Chief Retires
Published: Thursday, November 20, 2008
By Catherine Stortz Ripley, C-T News Editor

CAPTION: After 37 years with the Chillicothe fire department, Director of Emergency Services Joe Rinehart (seated at center) is retiring. Rinehart was appointed fire chief in 1979. He has served under 14 mayors, four city administrators and many city councils. A public retirement reception will be announced at a later date. Rinehart's retirement announcement came today at City Hall with his family and many from his firefighter family present. From left, son-in-law Brandon Olson, daughter Melissa, granddaughter Kaya, wife Dana, and son, Joey. Standing, from left: Assistant Chief Joe Darr, Firefighter/Paramedic Aaron Minnick, Firefighter/Paramedic Dusty Jordan, Firefighter/EMT David Coult; Firefighter/Paramedic Lyle Lowe, Firefighter/EMT Les McMahan, Assistant Chief Eric Reeter, Firefighter/EMT Tracy Bradley, Assistant Chief Kevin Hoskins, Interim Director Darrell Wright, and billing director Bette Atwell.

C-T Photo/Catherine Stortz Ripley

Joe Rinehart, who has shepherded the Chillicothe Department of Emergency Services through nearly three decades, is retiring. His retirement was announced during a 10 a.m. news conference today (Thursday) in the council chambers at City Hall and caps a 37-year career with the city. The room was full of firefighters and city personnel expressing appreciation for his years of service. Rinehart was appointed to city service on Jan. 18, 1972, and promoted to the position of fire chief on May 14, 1979.

Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney read a statement prepared by Rinehart. "With regret, I am announcing my pending retirement as director of emergency services for the city of Chillicothe, effective Dec. 1, 2008," Rinehart stated. "It is in fact that my health and my running out of sick and vacation leave, that this decision has been made." "It has been a total pleasure to have served the city government and the people of Chillicothe for the past 37 years," Rinehart continued. "Chillicothe is fortunate to have the finest personnel and equipment anywhere around, which is made possible by the citizens of Chillicothe." "I will always have the utmost respect for my personnel and only wish them the best," he concluded.

Rinehart, 62, had submitted a letter announcing his retirement during the executive session of the city council Monday evening, citing health issues as his main reason for leaving. The council accepted his letter and promoted Capt. Darrell Wright to the position of interim director of emergency services. The council also promoted Capt. Joe Darr and Firefighter/Paramedic Eric Reeter to assistant chief positions. During his nearly 37 years of service to the city there have been many accomplishments for Chief Rinehart, City Administrator Dean Brookshier said today. "Some of those included moving the department to its current headquarters located at 700 2nd Street, changing the ambulance from basic life support to advanced life support, modernization of many pieces of fire apparatus, the formation of the Livingston County Ambulance District, and the very successful campaign passing the capital improvement sales tax," Brookshier said. While employed with the city, Rinehart has served under 14 mayors, four city administrators, as well as numerous city councils.

At the news conference, Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney welcomed those in attendance and Fr. Tom Hermes, of St. Columban Church, gave the invocation. In his remarks to those gathered, Haney noted how he had fought fires with Rinehart's father and expressed appreciation to Rinehart for his dedication. "Thirty-seven years of service is a long time as a firefighter, officer and chief," Haney said. "We are so fortunate to have had you. As a long-time friend and mayor of this city, thank you, thank you, and thank you for your 37 years. We truly appreciate you." The mayor stated that a public retirement reception will be announced at a later date.

Capt. Darrell Wright, who was named interim director upon Rinehart's retirement, made a few comments and expressed appreciation of the retiring director noting that many positive things have happened in the department and for the city through Rinehart's leadership. "It takes a great leader," he said. He also noted the support that came through Rinehart's efforts to get a permanent capital sales tax passed for emergency services. "He leaves the department in fine shape," Wright said of Rinehart, adding that with the sales tax in place Rinehart knows the department "will be in good shape for years to come." Wright also noted the support given the department through Rinehart's wife, Dana, and family - "His family has been a very important part," Wright said. Seated in the front of the council chambers, Rinehart was joined by his wife, Dana; son, Joey; daughter, Melissa, son-in-law, Brandon Olson, and granddaughter, Kaya, 5.

Council Taps Wright as Interim Director
Darrell Wright interim director

C-T Photo/Catherine Stortz Ripley

Capt. Darrell Wright, a 25-year veteran of the Department of Emergency Services, has been named interim director. The action was taken during the Chillicothe City Council's executive session Monday night at City Hall and was made following Director Joe Rinehart's announcement to retire.

Wright has been with the department since April 1983. He has held several positions, with the most recent being captain. Prior to his service with Chillicothe, Wright served five years with the Carrollton Fire Department as assistant chief.

In other staff restructuring due to Rinehart's retirement, the City Council promoted two individuals to join Kevin Hoskins as assistant chiefs. Capt. Joe Darr was promoted to assistant chief/shift leader. Darr has been with the Chillicothe Emergency Services for 29 years. The council also promoted firefighter/paramendic Eric Reeter to assistant chief/shift leader. Reeter has been with the department for nine years.

The council vote on this action was 4-1 with members Darrel Rinehart, Earle Teegarden, Maurice Zion and Donna Preszler voting 'Yes' and Councilwoman Pam Jarding voting 'No.'

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