Firefighters Keis, Nelson and Chwialkowski honored at council meeting
At the October 8 Richfield City Council meeting, three of the city’s firefighters were promoted and commended for their work and dedication. Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Dobesh and other city leaders, honored Charlie Keis, Joshua Nelson and Shea Chwialkowski.
Hired in March 2019, Charlie Keis received his firefighter badge after completing his mandatory six-month probation with the Richfield Fire Department (RFD). Keis grew up in Richfield and relocated from North Dakota to return to work for the department he saw protecting his community.
“We very excited to once again have a Richfield native on the department, and Charlie is obviously excited to be back in his hometown,” stated Kewitsch.
Additionally, Josh Nelson, a firefighter with the department since 2013, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Fire Department lieutenants have the responsibility of leading the crew posted at Richfield Fire Station #2 located at 6401 Penn Avenue.
“Josh is an excellent leader and we look forward to having him as part of the fire command staff moving forward,” said Kewitsch.
Shea Chwialkowski was also recognized for successfully completing the two-year Managing Officer Program with the National Fire Academy. The program develops emerging leaders in the fire service with personal and professional skills in change management, risk reduction and adaptive leadership.
“Shea showed incredible dedication to the department, community and fire service as a whole by undertaking this training under his own initiative,” explained Dobesh.
Chwialkowski is the second member of the RFD to complete this training, which only sees five graduates from the State of Minnesota, annually. He has been with the department since 2014.
As part of the Managing Officer Program, Chwialkowski was required to complete a community-based capstone project. For his project, Chwialkowski reviewed and updated the Richfield Fire Service Employee Orientation manual.
“The new manual is a living digital document filled with interactive content,” said Chwialkowski. “It has been used by our last three new firefighters and, along with more focused hands-on training, has already proven to make their onboarding process more effective and efficient.”
Keis, Nelson and Chwialkowski are part of the 26-member department that responds to more than 4,000 calls for service each year.