The following article continues a series detailing various positions that our firefighters fill. From basic skills to top management, all roles are vitally important in making our Fire Company function well. We hope these articles help community members better understand how we function as a team using everyone’s strengths within a chain of command.
Leading the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company on the administrative side is the president, who is also the chair of the Board of Directors. This Board consists of 12 members: president, vice president, recording secretary, financial secretary, treasurer, chief, deputy chief, assistant chief, fire police captain and three members at large.
The president and Board of Directors are responsible for making sure the Fire Company’s mission is accomplished and the vision is fulfilled. Giving direction, setting goals, and establishing a specific tone and rapport are also included in the president’s tasks.
The president is voted into office by the Fire Company membership every December and serves until a successor is found. It is important for presidents to identify leadership qualities in members and mentor others to come on board when they step out of this role.
In a nutshell, the president presides at the Board of Directors meetings on the last Tuesday of each month and Fire Membership meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. He also appoints committees and sits in on their meetings. Presently there are six committees: Nominating, Pot Pie, BBQ, Half Marathon, Administrative and Human Resources.
Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Fire Company is a major part of the job. Firefighting is just one aspect of this organization. There are other areas requiring management and an eye for detail. The president takes care of phone calls and emails, is in touch with financial officers, serves as a spokesperson and represents the Fire Company when there are legal issues. The president also keeps track of how plans are implemented and follows through to assure projects are completed.
Working with volunteers in a nonprofit organization requires skill in leading others, motivating them to rally around a cause and to move forward on projects. It should be done in a way that avoids unpleasantness or opposition and without offending or hurting others’ feelings. It takes diplomacy to be president!
Tim Hoerner has served in the capacity of president since 2009. He also served two earlier terms making this his 13th year as president. He states, “My favorite part o f this role is the satisfaction of working with people who have a common mindset and common goals. This allows for successful performance of our mission and the implementation of our vision. The mission is what we do on a daily basis and the vision is how we are going to be able to continue to do that.”
It is vital to the president to have competent people in the many Fire Company positions. When volunteers do their parts well and with skill and expertise, a leader benefits from all the cooperation. It is also crucial for the Fire Company to have overriding principles that are sustainable, enduring, and able to continue even when a new president is installed. Bird-in-Hand is fortunate to have both of these attributes and they help make our Company successful.