Former Explorer Sworn-In as Township Firefighter

20150113 191656The Bethel Township Trustees of Clark County met Tuesday, January 13 in regular session to discuss township issues.  The meeting became standing room-only as friends and family members of the township’s newest firefighter packed the room to watch the pinning ceremony of their loved one as she was officially sworn-in to the department.

Chelsea (Keechle) Brooks was pinned with the Maltese Cross—a symbol long-used by firefighters to represent their commitment to courage, valor, and the risk of saving lives.  Brooks elected to have Master Sergeant Antonio Ruiz of Tecumseh’s Jr. ROTC Program do the pinning of her badge, as she considered him to be a mentor.

Fire Chief Jacob King commended Brooks on her abilities to pass both the physical and academic portions of her training to become an official firefighter.  “This is a monumental step in the right direction for you,” said King.

Bethel Township Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Schaefer noted how proud he was of Brooks, as she joined the department while she was still in high school as an Explorer, before the cadet program was disbanded.  He said she has been around ever since, working as a “proby,” or probationary firefighter, often riding with crews to get a firsthand learning experience.

“We’ve all been able to watch Chelsea as she’s grown and matured from being an Explorer to a card-carrying firefighter, and we’re all very proud of her accomplishments,” said Schaefer. “She hadn’t had her certification a month before her first fire, and she performed excellently, just as we knew she would—which makes everyone who helped train her that much prouder,” he added.

The Explorer program was recently re-created within the Bethel Township Fire Department, with the Boy Scouts of America serving as the parent organization now.  The cadet program disbanded several years ago due to insurance and liability reasons, which will now be handled by BSA.

Brooks thanked her family and friends for helping her reach her goal, and extended sincere appreciation to Master Sergeant Ruiz—saying she “wouldn’t be here today” without him and Colonel Fred Schuster from the Jr. ROTC Program at Tecumseh.  She also thanked Chief King “for the second opportunity to prove I can be of value here,” saying she was “blessed to work with so many wonderful firefighters and EMTS who helped train me.”

Also during the meeting, Trustee Dave Phares noted that he had received 100 tons of road salt to stock in the township’s garage.  He said a very rough estimate of 50 tons of salt was used in Bethel Township during the two most recent snow/ice events, and that this delivery was the first the township has received so far this winter.

The trustees reported that Township Deputy Alan Cox had requested that a wireless camera be installed at the entrance to Raynor Park to ensure more security in the area.

A Joint Government Meeting for the Bethel Township Board of Trustees, New Carlisle City Council, Tecumseh Local Board of Education, and county commissioners will be held Monday, January 26 at 6 p.m. at the Bethel Township Firehouse, located at 3333 Lake Road.

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