MOUNT VERNON — Around 50 family members, friends, city and county officials, and fellow county firefighters came to the Mount Vernon Fire Department on Thursday morning for the official swearing-in ceremony for Chris Menapace as the new MVFD chief.
Commander Charles Swank opened the ceremony with the department’s Honor Guard presenting the colors. Swank led the Pledge of Allegiance, and a prayer was offered by the Rev. Father Mark Hammond of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis then conducted the ceremony where Menapace, surrounded by his family, took the official oath as the newest chief of the local fire department.
Menapace came to the MVFD in 1999 after serving on the Homer Fire Department for three years. He was promoted to assistant chief in 2007 and was recently selected as chief after the resignation of former chief Shawn Christy.
“[Menapace] would do anything you asked him to do. He was a wonderful guy to work with,” said Homer Fire Department Chief Randy King, who was attending the ceremony. “We’ve missed him.”
After his official oath was completed, Menapace hugged his wife after having her pin his official badge as chief onto his uniform. He thanked everyone for coming to the ceremony and for offering their generous support for him before extending an invitation to stay for refreshments.
The new chief provided some insight and commented on his plans as the newest leader of the MVFD.
“To remain diligent in our customer service” is the main goal Menapace has in mind for his upcoming tenure as fire chief. “I am very satisfied with the different services we provide for our community,” said Menapace. “I’m not looking to increase services because we already provide basically everything we have means to provide. What I want to focus on is good quality assurance and making sure that we are staying current with the trends in our industry, and staying current and up-to-date in challenging ourselves through continued trainings.”
Continuing to develop the inspection bureau is a specific goal Menapace hopes to focus on. He cited 280 inspections conducted six years ago with more than 1,000 conducted each year now. Three members of the department were trained when Menapace took over the bureau, and 17 members are now properly trained.