CORALVILLE — The construction of a new fire station, a top 3 percent national public protection classification and the creation of a new training facility are highlights of former Coralville Fire Chief David Stannard’s 16 years at the helm of the volunteer department.
Stannard, who retired last month, spent more than four decades as a firefighter, 32 of those in Coralville. A public reception for him is planned from 4 to 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1512 Seventh St.
“I just feel like under Dave’s leadership, we’ve just developed and maintained a first-class fire department, and that provides great protection for the community,” Coralville Mayor John Lundell said.
Lundell said Stannard’s ability to work with others has benefited the department, especially when getting contractors to donate time and materials to the training facility while it was being built in 2006.
“He’s a great representative of the fire department,” Lundell said. “He’s been a real leader in the field.”
Stannard’s official retirement date was April 20, but he’s been in the office helping out with the hope of ensuring a smooth transition. Fire prevention officer Orey Schwitzer is serving as interim fire chief.
“I’m just that age, and it’s a young man’s game,” Stannard said. “I think the camaraderie and the people that we work with every day is part of what you miss the most, being around people you like and have the same common goals.”
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Stannard serves as president of the Iowa Fire Chiefs Association. In 2014, he received the Roger W. Mooty Award from the association, which is given for exceptional contributions to the advancement of fire service.
Stannard previously served as a training officer, captain and assistant fire chief in Coralville before being named chief in 2002. He began his career with the Brighton Fire Department in 1975.
“There’s been a lot of good memories, and I’ll cherish all of them,” Stannard said.
Looking ahead, Stannard said he thinks the challenges for Coralville firefighters will be continued staffing of a volunteer department and keeping up with the demands of a growing city. He said the department’s next chief will have to be a leader, not a boss.
“A boss can just give orders, and the leader needs to make sure that the troops are all going the same direction and they’re doing what they’re told,” Stannard said.
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