FIRE DEPARTMENTS are a precious commodity. In the Ohio Valley, often times they are also the lifeblood of the community.
St. Clairsville and its surrounding area are serviced by a high-caliber department, that being Cumberland Trail. It is a joint fire district formed in November 1989 by the popular vote of the residents of Richland Township and the City of St. Clairsville.
Cumberland Trail is a seamless meshing of both full-time and part-time firefighters. From its inception, it has always boasted strong and quality leadership.
The department is currently undergoing a change at the top.
Lance Rice will officially assume the chief's position on July 1. He was selected from amongst several quality candidates.
Rice comes well-equipped to handle the challenges that go with the territory.
He is battle-tested with Cumberland Trail, serving with the department for 20 years. He worked himself up through the ranks, learning the ropes as well as the landscape in earning the rank of lieutenant in 2012.
Such knowledge will prove invaluable as he leads his quality outfit. He has spent his entire career with Cumberland Trail, which speaks volumes about his commitment.
Moreover, he has been cast in the role of union president for 13 years, a testament to his leadership skills. His appointment received glowing reviews from the fire district's attorney.
"He is a man of honor and hard work. He and the other lads are in the field daily doing heroic work to protect the people of the district in Belmont County," said Gerald Duff. "While he is very dedicated and strict in his approach, he is courteous and is well respected and liked on both sides of the aisle. He certainly was my choice for the job."
Being a fire chief is a most challenging task. However, it appears Cumberland Trail has the right man for the job.