The new chief of the Lynchburg Area Joint Fire and Ambulance District is looking forward to the challenge and to becoming a bigger part of the community where he and his family now live.
Jeff Turner, who has nearly two decades of experience as a firefighter and paramedic in Batavia, said Tuesday that he’s taking the reins at a department that was left in good shape by former chief David Manning.
“I know Dave Manning’s reputation,” said Turner. “I know it will be a quality department.” He said his goal is to continue providing “the highest level” of service to the citizens served by the Lynchburg department.
Manning resigned recently to become assistant chief with the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District. Turner was hired after a special board meeting Monday following a series of interviews. Up to nine applicants had sought the job.
Turner said that after he gets his feet wet and becomes more familiar with the daily routine, he hopes to institute some programs, such as a car seat installation program.
Turner was interested in the chief’s job because he and his family now live in Clay Township, where his wife has family ties and which is part of the Lynchburg-Clay school district. He and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of three sons, Josh, 9, Sam, 7 and Abe, 5.
Turner started with the Batavia fire department in 1997, and stayed on when that department became part of the Central Joint Fire District in 2002, which combined two fire departments.
Richard Warner, the Lynchburg police chief who assisted in the search for the fire chief, said Turner impressed the fire board with his commitment to the local area and his lifelong dedication to firefighting.
Warner said that at the age of 14, Turner started an Explorer Program, a junior firefighter program that exists in many departments across the nation. He said Turner wanted to work at a department where volunteers are part of the staff because they want to be there, not because they have to be.
“He expressed the desire to work where he can be part of something bigger,” said Warner. He said Turner told the board he was not applying anywhere else, and hopes to work at Lynchburg until he retires.
A “Meet the Chief” reception for Turner will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the Lynchburg fire station.
The Lynchburg fire department is an all-volunteer department aside from its chief. The department covers the village of Lynchburg and all of Dodson, Salem and Hamer townships, plus half of Union township.
The Lynchburg fire district board holds regular meetings the second Tuesday of each month. Usually, a finance meeting begins at 6:45 p.m. and the regular meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Meetings are held at the Lynchburg fire station every month except for March, June, September and December when the meetings are held at the Pricetown station.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.
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