Newgent named Fire Chief of the Year
GREENCASTLE -- Fire Chief Bill Newgent was named Fire Chief of the Year by the Indiana Fire Chiefs Association.
"I am very honored to receive such a high award from my peers," Newgent said after accepting the eagle trophy Monday.
Presenting the award to Newgent in front of the Greencastle Fire Department was a close personal friend of Newgent's, Decatur Township Fire Chief Dale Henson.
"It couldn't have happened to a better guy," noted Henson. "He is very deserving."
Following several line-of-duty deaths of Indiana firemen, Newgent put a plan into action hoping to save future firefighters' lives. He took the time to research and identify structures with engineered truss systems in this community.
"Firefighter safety is a passion of mine," he said.
The International Code Council committee eventually wrote his work into code. It now serves as a model for fire chiefs throughout the country to follow and has been adopted in Greencastle.
"It started as a great idea by my assistant fire chief (Jeff Mace)," said Newgent. "I had no idea it would blossom the way it has."
Not one to take all the credit, Newgent said he couldn't do any of this without his crew. "I am very proud of my crew. They are a forward thinking group," he continued.
Newgent can now add his Fire Chief of the Year award to his Sagamore of the Wabash, which he received for his efforts to improve firefighter training in Indiana.
"(Newgent's) efforts to serve others are tireless and this was ever present when he secured one of the largest FEMA grants ever awarded for improving communications within his county," was one comment read by Henson.
The guidelines for Fire Chief of the Year state "the nominee must be recognized as a leader in the fire service by their peers."
"I truly believe Chief Newgent exceeds this requirement," wrote Clay Fire Chief Timothy Schabbel in his letter of recommendation.
Newgent started as a volunteer fireman with the Madison Township Volunteer Fire Department in February 1988; then joined the Greencastle department in 1992; and was appointed fire chief in 2000 by then Mayor Nancy Michael.
"I always wanted to be a fireman," he noted.
After all these years in his career, he said he was "humbled and shocked" to receive Indiana Fire Chief of the Year award.