Brothers retire after four decades in fire service
For the Wausau Times
SCHOFIELD – Brothers, Randy and Bill Szews have retired from the Hatley Area Fire and Ambulance Districts (HAFAAD) with a combined 84 years of dedicated service to their community.
“Both have been fully commitment to servicing their communities since they joined in January 1979, 42 years ago,” a HAFAAD release stated.
“I think it stems from us growing up with community-centered parents,” Randy said. “We were always focused on being connected to our home town.”
Randy was named HAFAAD’s fourth fire chief in 1994.
“It was an honor to be named Hatley’s fourth fire chief. There is a certain standard for being fire chief. I took that torch and held it as high as I could for as long as I could,” he added.
Community service runs deep through their family, with all five siblings joining the department – Penny Esker with 38 active years, Judy Popp with 20 years, and Joe Szews with 15 years.
“Serving with your siblings of course has its ups and downs,” said Randy. “At the end of the day, it helps when you have your family’s support. Bill spent a lot of time helping me and repairing and servicing the trucks. My family has all gone above and beyond.”
“We could never even begin to thank Randy and Bill for their time invested into our community,” said David Narloch, president of the HAFAAD board and village of Hatley president. “We are particularly grateful for Randy’s leadership. He’s evolved the team and made several improvements to team communications, operations, and equipment, including leading the purchase of our Pierce Pumper Engine, Tanker, and Rescue Truck to meet the requirements of the department. While we feel confident in the abilities and leadership qualities of Randy’s replacement, we will certainly feel a hole on the team without him.”
“I find myself reaching for my pager frequently,” said Randy. “Being part of the team is so engraved into my everyday life. I’m excited to see where the next chief takes the team and will be here to support him in any way I can.”
The HAFAAD Fire and Ambulance team services the town of Reid, town of Bevent, town of Elderon, village of Hatley, and a section of the town of Norrie.
Randy and Bill’s last day of active service was Jan. 2.