By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory’s next fire chief, an out-of-state firefighter, is expected to arrive in the area by mid-February.
Garrett Holderman, who is currently with the Rural Metro Fire Territory in Arizona, was announced as the territory’s new fire chief during a WWFT board meeting on Monday, Jan. 10. During a December 2021 meeting, the board announced that WWFT Chief Mike Wilson would be retiring in the summer of 2022.
“He has come and visited with the fire territory,” said Mayor Joe Thallemer about Holderman. “He is working through a lot of the paperwork that’s all part of this. He’s got quite a résumé as far as experience.”
Holderman, who didn’t attend Monday’s meeting will not be officially appointed as fire chief until the board’s February meeting. The board voted to appoint Wilson as fire chief for WWFT until Holderman can take over.
The board also gave fire district permission to participate and be recipients of a grant under the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The grant is in regards to Kosciusko County’s Opioid Response Project. Five local entities are collaborating on implementing the project for a three-year term through the Kosciusko County Consortium.
For the Kosciusko County Consortium, Bowen Center will act as the fiscal agency, while Fellowship Missions, the City of Warsaw, K21 Health Foundation and Live Well Kosciusko are active consortium members.
The grant, if awarded, would total $1 million and be funded over a three-year period. WWFT will participate in the grant alongside the Warsaw Police Department, in conjunction with the City of Warsaw.
A portion of the funding would be used for WWFT’s Community Assistance, Resources and Emergency Services (C.A.R.E.S.) program and program coordinator. WWFT has already received permission to participate from the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety.
“We are just one of the signers…we would help offer our advice and direction on where that money should go,” said EMS Chief Chris Fancil. “This grant is for opioid addiction and the response to that. What we’re looking at, on our end of things, is taking money from that and folding it into the C.A.R.E.S. program.”
The board also:
- Was administered their oaths of office by WWFT Attorney Andrew Grossnickle.
- Appointed Shirley Fetrow to continue as recording secretary.
- Appointed Grossnickle to continue as fire territory attorney.
WWFT’s next board meeting is at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1.