Shenandoah Public Safety Center

(Shenandoah) -- Shenandoah's outgoing fire chief is hoping younger residents will follow in his footsteps as firefighters.

Next Tuesday night, the Shenandoah City Council is expected to approve the appointment of a new chief to succeed Ron Weston, who announced his resignation last week. Weston tells KMA News departments nationwide are experiencing a shortage of volunteer firefighters.

"The fire department's a very crucial part of any community," said Weston. "I've seen that over the years. Things have slowed down a lot as far as the number of individuals who want to help out in that area. Being a volunteer, it's not that easy, because it's a lot of demand on your time--sometimes. But, getting people in there who are willing to commit and do the time is fantastic."

A member of Shenandoah's volunteer fire department since 1999, Weston says the community has a critical need for additional firefighters.

"Being able to have somebody there at the department ready to go 24-7 is fantastic," he said. "It helps a lot when you have fire here in town, or a wreck here in town, where they can be there in minutes. We're really fortunate to have that here in town, and we would like to see that continue."

Weston says he's enjoyed working with his fellow firefighters over the years.

"As a department, everybody works real well together," said Weston. "There's very few attitudes--you always have a few attitudes, regardless of what you do, to a certain point. But in the end, everybody works toward a common goal--to help people in need, on the worst day of their lives. So, we always try to do what we can to help them out."

Weston encourages anyone considering becoming a volunteer firefighter to stop by Shenandoah's Public Safety Center and fill out an application. Weston's retirement is effective December 31st.