Neff Retires After 24 Years Of Service

Oskaloosa Fire Chief Mark Neff displays the plaque given to him by the staff at the Oskaloosa Fire Department.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – It was an emotional day at Oskaloosa Fire Station No. 1, as Fire Chief Mark Neff hung up his helmet for the final time on Thursday afternoon.

Neff started his career at the Oskaloosa Fire Department in November of 1996 as a reserve firefighter. In May of 1998, Neff was hired as a full-time firefighter with the department, being promoted to captain in 2002. His promotion to Fire Chief took place in 2009.

Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt spoke about Neff, saying that it was “bittersweet” in regards to Neff’s retirement from the department. “It’s good to look back and say we’ve been through a lot together, and look at where things were 10, 15, 20 years ago, when Mark got here, and then how things have changed since then.”

“Mark has been just a tremendous influence on the fire department. The professionalism, the training, but also maintaining the equipment that they have to work with, making sure that it’s modern. Making sure that it’s well maintained.”

Krutzfeldt also outlined the forward-thinking Neff has brought to the department. Things like new helmets, techniques in fighting grass fires, and using a high-pressure system to combat them.

One of the most significant accomplishments is the addition to the Oskaloosa Fire Station. Not only helping with the design of the structure but helping the city government understand what needs will go with that.

With the new station, he advocated for the addition of an aerial apparatus, something the city of Oskaloosa had never owned before.

Krutzfeldt said that Neff is “beloved. When you’re the chief, you become the public face of the department. Through all the work that he’s done, he’s created a sense of safety in Oskaloosa. Frankly, the community just loves it.”

Neff was then presented a signed proclamation in his honor from Krutzfeldt.

An emotional and speechless Neff took a moment to search for the words to begin his speech.

.”Family stood by me,” said Neff. “All of you,” he added as he motioned to the gathered crowd.

“Give me a minute,” said Neff as he continued searching for the words.

“The family, I probably put them behind a little bit,” said Neff of his career. “That, I want to change.”

“All of you helped build this,” Neff said of the current fire station, department, and the community. “You’re all part of the team.”

Expressing his gratitude to everyone, Neff said he couldn’t have accomplished what was done without them. “They are all part of the family.”

“What I’m hoping is, as I leave, Dave’s [Christenson] going to pick this up. Nothing’s going to change. It’s going to keep moving forward. We just keep moving forward. Whoever comes in next, we’re just going to keep moving forward. That’s what we do as public servants.”

“If you ever need anything, holler,” said Neff in closing. “Thanks.”

Neff was then presented with a plaque with an ax from the current firefighters.

“On behalf of the members of the Oskaloosa Fire Department, thank you for your service,” said interim Fire Chief Dave Christenson to Neff.”

Posted by on Oct 21 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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