chief_ostermanThis is Chuck Osterman’s last Christmas as Chief of the Kingman Fire Department. Osterman is retiring after more than 38 years of service to the city, 20 of those as its fire chief. So, what’s next for a man who has been a fixture in local government and public safety? “I get two questions. What are you going to do when you retire and my answer is ‘anything I want to’ and where are you going to live and the answer is ‘in my house,'” Osterman said. He said he and his wife Carol intend to continue residing in Kingman, but they’re not closing any doors on the future. The exiting fire chief is turning down invitations to serve public boards and commissions. “I’m not going to,” Osterman said. “I’m going to take a break.” Osterman explains that he intends to re-energize his personal life as he steps away from the municipal menagerie. “I’ll miss the people I work with the most. The day to day activities and the management stuff, I’m ready to go do something else. I’m not sick and tired of it. I’m just ready to move on. I’ve got other stuff to do,” Osterman said.“My big thing is to be able to reconnect, not only with my family but there’s people in this community who I went to high school with, people I did stuff with. I run into them on occasion. I just want to call them up and say `hey, what are you doing? Come on down. We’ll have a cup of coffee and sit on the porch.” Osterman’s father was a career firefighter and his two great uncles served the KFD as volunteers in the 1920’s. He said he’s proud of that heritage and having been able to help transition the Department to what it is today. Osterman said a fire chief, six firefighters and 35 volunteers responded to about 450 calls for service a year when he started. Today, 53 staff members and nine part time employees handle more than 6,500 calls a year. And Osterman said the nature of the fire service has changed too. Additional training and equipment over the years has seen the department add EMS, HazMat and technical rescue expertise to its service delivery. Osterman said the KFD has 28 paramedics because more than 80% of its calls are EMS related. Osterman said transitioning the department could not have occurred without commitment from elected officials. He said he is pleased that City Councils over the years have provided funding necessary to train and equip the department and its personnel to well serve the community. As he turns in his turnouts, Chief Osterman noted that a community is only as good as its people. He encourages public service and a more productive blend of the citizenry. “It’s a great community and people do step up. It’s not a high scale community. It’s not a low scale community. Kingman is a meat and potatos town. The railroad runs through it. The cattle are here. The miners were here. Now industry and tourism,” Osterman said. “Things change as we go but those core people and those families are here. And sometimes they even get poked at as the ‘good ole boys’. And that aggravates me because when something goes down in the community and you need some help, those are the folks that step up. They are what make Kingman great. I think the people that are out there need to jump in with both feet and get involved and then it’s not so hard n those people that have to do it all the time.”

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