MOUNT VERNON — Family members, friends and colleagues looked on proudly Wednesday as Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis administered the oath of office to three new firefighters and to three veteran firefighters who have been promoted within the Mount Vernon Fire Department.
“This is a great day for our firehouse and you should be proud of these men,” Chief Chris Menapace said. “The firefighters/paramedics — Coty Shellenbarger, Bryan Cantrell and Ben Harrod — come in with most of their state-level training and they can hit the ground running and be a part of our manpower and part of our paramedic force. The new officers — Fire Prevention Officer Terry Davis, Lt. J.D. Burke and Capt. Chad Christopher — have already been in their roles for a little bit of time. They are great leaders of men and have the respect of their fellow members of the department.”
Christopher began his career with the Mount Vernon Fire Department in March 2001. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Fish and Wildlife from Hocking College and is a graduate of the Ohio Fire Academy. He served as a firefighter/paramedic until September 2007 when he was promoted to lieutenant. He lives in Mount Vernon with his wife and two daughters.
Burke also started his firefighting career in Mount Vernon in March 2001. He attended the Mount Vernon Nazarene University earning a Bachelor of Business Administration and graduated from the Ohio Fire Academy. He has served in the capacity of firefighter/paramedic for the past 11 years and resides in Mount Vernon with his wife and children.
Davis joined the Mount Vernon Fire Department in September 1997. He has been extensively trained in cause and origin techniques and has been instrumental in developing Mount Vernon Fire Department’s code enforcement office. Davis has been the lead fire investigator for the past several years and a thorough fire safety inspector. He will continue those roles as the Fire Prevention Officer.
“The prevention officer spot is extremely key,” said Menapace. “Uniform enforcement of the fire code is paramount in the prevention of fires. If we should happen to have a fire, good solid arson investigation can make sure we know why it started and help prevent it in the future.”
Cantrell’s appointment to the firefighter/paramedic position comes after he earned his Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Central Ohio Technical College. He has gained practical experience working part-time for Newark Township Fire Department and Eastern Knox Count Joint Fire District. Cantrell grew up in the Mount Vernon area and currently resides in Gahanna.
Ben Harrod recently joined the Mount Vernon Fire Department after completing his fire and EMS certifications through Central Ohio Technical College. He has also served as a volunteer firefighter with the Homer Fire Department for the last three years. Harrod and his wife Abby live in Mount Vernon.
Coty Shellenbarger was employed by the Mount Vernon Fire Department in November 2011. He earned his fire and EMS certifications through the Knox County Career Center. Prior to coming to the Mount Vernon Fire Department, he served with the United State Marine Corps and the city of Mount Vernon Street Department. Shellenbarger and his family reside in Mount Vernon.