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City congratulates fire chief on new opportunity
SAVANNAH (June 13) – After a highly successful tenure, Savannah Fire Chief Derik Minard will step down from his role with the city to return home to Westminster, Colorado as their fire chief. Minard previously spent 28 years with the Westminster Fire Department prior to joining Savannah Fire in 2019.
“Chief Minard is the epitome of a professional fire chief, and I could not have asked for a better leader to work with during my first year as city manager,” said Joseph A. Melder, City Manager. “Team Savannah is proud of the major accomplishments achieved during Chief Minard’s tenure, and we are a better organization because of his leadership. He led a cultural transformation of our Fire Department that will continue to pay dividends for our firefighters and those we serve well into the future. Savannah Fire is one of the nation’s premier Fire Departments, and Chief Minard and his leadership team deserve a great deal of credit for our success. We wish him nothing but the best as he returns to Westminster to lead his hometown fire department.”
Chief Minard’s final day with the Savannah Fire Department will be July 1.
“For me, being a fire chief is all about building the department’s culture,” said outgoing Fire Chief Derik Minard. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to cultivate an inclusive, welcoming culture where all firefighters and civilian staff want to come to work each day and have a voice in the vision for the future of our department. I appreciate City Manager Melder, our City Council, and my fellow members of Team Savannah for welcoming me and allowing me to be a part of this work family for three years; it is bittersweet to be leaving a city I have enjoyed calling home and going back to the only other home I have known as a firefighter is the only reason I would ever leave.”
City Manager Melder has appointed Assistant Chief Elzie Kitchen to serve as interim Fire Chief effective July 2, 2022. A Johnson High School graduate and Savannah resident since 1977, Chief Kitchen has served the Savannah Fire Department since 1998. He holds master’s degrees in emergency services management, public administration, and organizational leadership from Columbia Southern and Waldorf Universities and was recently awarded the designation of Chief Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. The City will undertake a process to hire a permanent Fire Chief.