Chelsea Fire honors outgoing chaplain
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – Chelsea Fire Chief Wayne Shirley said he “looked for the right fit” when he wanted to start a fire department chaplain program. He said he found the right person in Steve Wallace.
Wallace, the outgoing senior chaplain, has a “true servant’s heart for the Chelsea community,” Shirley said during an Oct. 16 City Council meeting.
“Steve took (the program) and grew it into a program I couldn’t be more proud of,” Shirley said.
Wallace said he couldn’t have started the program if the fire chief and City Council “didn’t have a vision for it.”
“I’m blessed to be a small part of this,” Wallace said.
Shirley said Wallace is leaving the department to become a disaster responder for the United States.
Also during the meeting, Chelsea Citizens on Patrol Director Matthew Mellon reported he attended the first Birmingham COP meeting Oct. 15. Chelsea City Council member and COP member Dale Neuendorf was one of the guest speakers.
“It was nice to see that our program has been held in such regard by other COP groups to keep neighborhoods safe,” Mellon said, noting the Chelsea COP was key to the founding of Birmingham and Montgomery’s branches.
Additionally, Bill Harper, Chelsea Middle School principal, spoke of the condition of the school’s facilities.
“We have great parents, great kids, great staff, but we’re challenged with facilities,” Harper said. “We’re growing. We have 50-60 new kids coming in every year.”
Harper said the school developed a partnership with parents to address school needs.
“We’re going to take the bull by the horns and initiate capital expansion,” he said. “The facilities we need to expand, the county won’t provide. They will partner, but won’t foot the bill. We’re hoping the city will partner with us when appropriate.”
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