Mo. fire chief announces retirement after 30 years of service
After more than 30 years of service at the Neosho Fire Department, Chief Mike Eads has announced his retirement
By Rayna Karst
The Joplin Globe
NEOSHO, Mo. — After more than 30 years of service at the Neosho Fire Department, Chief Mike Eads has announced his retirement.
Eads, who has been Neosho's fire chief for about eight years, will work his last day on March 15.
"I've enjoyed being a firefighter here in Neosho," he said. "I've enjoyed getting to know all the different guys who came through the door either before me, during my time or who are just starting out."
Eads started his career at the fire department in 1986 as a volunteer firefighter. By the end of that year, he was a full-time engineer and eventually worked his way up the ranks, he said.
What stands out to him as one of the most rewarding accomplishments of his career, he said, happened during the first year of his tenure as chief, which he began in 2010. In 2010 and 2011, low revenue made it necessary to lay off several of the department's firefighters, Eads said. To combat the loss of staff, the department applied for and was rewarded a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"We were able to bring everybody back from the layoffs," Eads said. "That was my first year basically as chief — first having to announce to some of the guys that they were being laid off, and then not quite a year later, I was able to bring them back."
After Eads leaves, Deputy Chief Jim Ledford will take over as interim chief until City Manager Leland Butcher fills the position. Butcher anticipates a new chief will be appointed in approximately six months.
"(Eads) has done a phenomenal job with the limited resources he had," Butcher said. "I can't thank him enough for his 32 years of dedication to the city of Neosho, the citizens and the fire department."
Eads said he looks forward to moving on to different adventures in his life after retirement.
"I wish everybody here at the department the best of luck moving forward," he said.