Westover welcomes new fire chief
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
WESTOVER – The city of Westover officially welcomed Fire Chief Ricky King into service with a badge-pinning ceremony during the Feb. 15 city council meeting.
Westover Mayor Mark McLaughlin said he received many applications, but finally chose King to step into the leadership position.
“We had a lot of high-quality candidates apply for this job, which made me feel great to have that kind of problem,” McLaughlin said. “When you have first string, second string and third string and no real drop off in talent, that’s pretty cool.
“We’ve got a great leader,” he said. “I’m excited about tonight, and I’m excited about the future.”
Councilmember Samuel Mann reiterated McLaughlin’s sentiments by addressing the new fire chief.
“Chief King, I’m excited you’ve taken an interest in our community here, and I don’t think I could be more pumped than I am right now to see where it’s going to go,” Mann said. “We’re looking forward to the future investment you and your family are going to have in our community.”
King, along with his new duties with the Westover Fire Department, also serves the Pelham Fire Department as a lieutenant. He began his career as a junior volunteer firefighter with the Chelsea Fire Department, and, therefore, he intends to extend positions to the youth of the community as junior volunteers.
“(The mayor and I) talked about wanting to get our youngsters involved. My son, Jacob, the mayor’s son, Micah, and my nephew have been more fired up about me getting this job than I think anybody,” King said. “I really look forward to bringing them onboard as junior volunteers.
“As I said, I started as a junior volunteer, and it helped ground me,” he said. “I definitely knew what kind of work I wanted to go into.”
King has other plans for the community as well.
“The biggest thing I believe the fire department needs to do is get community involvement,” King said. “I believe the fire department is a major asset to our city, so we need to let the city know that.
“I want to begin things like smoke detector initiatives. I hope, in the future, our firemen can be making house visits and making sure every home in Westover has a working smoke detector.”
The new fire chief took over the position on Jan. 31, 2011, and began the position with big plans for community involvement, he said.
“I really appreciate it, and I look forward to serving y’all,” King said. “I hope I do it well.”