New fire chief in charge of Ozawkie department
by Clarke Davis
James Snyder, 50, has been appointed the new fire chief at Ozawkie by the township board.
He replaces Scott Gibson, who was named the interim chief a year ago in September. At that time the department was defined as “troubled,” having gone through a period of discontent accompanied by some resignations.
Snyder hopes those troubles are behind the department as he begins his tenure. He has a roster with 15 volunteers, and three new applications have come in the past week. Five of the members are cadets, minors who can train and help out, but are restricted from fighting a fire.
Snyder and his wife, Sheila, who is also a firefighter and department member, live at Lake Shore Estates. They have been Jefferson County residents since 1989 having first lived in Sarcoxie Township and then moved to Ozawkie Township in 2009.
Both James and Sheila are emergency medical technicians and Danny Ruff is the third one on the department. Jason Klenklen is the assistant fire chief.
The fire department currently holds meetings two times a month on the first and third Tuesdays, but that might change. The Snyders are active in a number of civic and community groups and they might change the meeting dates after consulting with members.
Both James and Sheila are involved in local American Legion posts and on the district level. He is the vice commander for District I that includes 52 posts and Sheila is vice president of the district auxiliary that has 43 chapters. He manned a booth for the Legion at the State Fair Sept. 13.
The fire chief works for a cubical office furniture company, mainly in the north Kansas City warehouse. But he often travels to transport and install the furniture.
Snyder willingly took the fire chief’s position, something he said he has been training for for quite some time. He regularly attends classes throughout the state sponsored by the State Capitol Area Fire Fighters Association to gain higher certification. The last one he attended dealt with command of major instances.
The couple has two children, Crystal, who lives in Leavenworth, and Jesse, a McLouth resident. Crystal has a son and a daughter on the way.
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