CRIDERSVILLE — An area fire chief keeps busy by doing what he loves.
Cridersville Fire Chief Rick Miller, who took over the new post after former Fire Chief Ron Mertz retired at the end of 2012, says he grew up a firefighter.
“I grew up at the fire department,” Miller said. “My dad was a fireman and was a lieutenant before he left.”
So whenever his father went to the fire department, Miller would tag along.
“It was like my second home,” Miller said.
This led to his first position as a cadet on the Cridersville Fire Department — when he was 14 years old.
The cadet program is for the youth, that Cridersville Fire Department still hosts today. It introduces children to the fire department, and allows then to train with the members, allows them to help service vehicles and to also have their own turnout gear.
The cadets in the Cadet Program are also allowed to assist and take part in non-emergency situations.
“This is a program that gets the young people involved,” Miller said.
Miller, who grew up with others who currently serve or had formerly served on area fire departments, said it helped to mold them into the people they are today.
Miller has lived in Cridersville most of his life, except for the first four years of his life when he lived in Wapakoneta and one year when he attended college in Columbus.
“I like the town, atmosphere and the people,” Miller said. “These people are the people I grew up with. We are a pretty close, tight-knit community.”
Miller is a 1985 graduate of Wapakoneta High School and lives in Cridersville with his wife, Elaine, and they have three daughters, Emily, Katie and Stacy.
Miller has served on the Cridersville Fire Department for the past 32 years, and during this time he has worked as a lieutenant, captain, assistant chief and the deputy fire chief before being nominated and voted in as chief by his 42 members of the fire department on Nov. 7.
“My favorite part is helping people,” Miller said, “and I look forward to helping the residents in the future.”
He said he does not serve for recognition, as he does it because he said it is the right thing to do.
“If I didn’t want to do this, I wouldn’t be there,” Miller said of his service on the fire department.
Miller said he and his crew are dedicated to serving the public as members of the fire department. There are times when their pagers go off in the middle of the night and there are many times when the firefighters are away from their families while helping others in the community.
Miller said the Cridersville Fire Department may be one of the busiest volunteer fire departments in the area because of their coverage area they assist.
In 2012, the Cridersville Fire Department had 672 calls, a fact Miller presented to Cridersville Village Council members at a recent council meeting. The calls are the most ever served by the fire department.
Taking on the duty as chief adds more responsibility to Miller, but he said he is up for the challenge. He presented a contract to the village to sign.
At January’s council meeting, the village of Cridersville entered into contract with the Cridersville Fire Department, and their budget was slightly lower than last year with a total of $52,000. In 2012, the budget was $56,000.
Cridersville EMS entered into a contract with the village of Buckland for a yearly contract of $1,500.
Cridersville Council President Eric West authorized each of these contracts to go into effect at the recent January council meeting.
So January has been a busy month for Miller as that is when many contracts and housekeeping items are due.
“We are almost to the end of January and everything is going well,” Miller said of his first month as chief.