Well-known Baby Boomer and Palisade Fire Chief, Richard Rupp, had a ‘before retirement project’ on his bucket list and it has to do with Palisade's new fire station.
“I’ve been saying all along, ‘I’m not going to quit until the station’s built.’ Well, the station’s built. I’ve got to put in at least another five years to make sure we have everything in its right place (and) everything’s operating nicely. And then I’ll see about, or think about taking off and doing the other things I want to do in life.”
What was the path that led him here?
“My dad was on the fire service-- or fire department back then," Rupp remembered. "And back then, it was just a matter of they went to fire calls. They did firefighting. That was it. As the fire service has come along, now we do medical and eighty percent of our calls are medical calls. I went ahead and decided, ‘I like this, so I got into it.’”
His two loves, mechanics and firefighting are quite compatible.
“I like doing all of the maintenance on the vehicles as well,” said Rupp.
As we stand in the sparkling new station with it “newness aroma”, Richard happily tells all about it.
“We took an existing building, reused it and added on and made it work. I think we have enough room for all of our volunteers, where they have a place to stay that’s nice. They can study and be ready for calls.”
Teaching classes such as high angle rope training for rescuing and many other training classes, running the station, his mechanical business, belonging to a number of Firefighter professional organizations and guess what? He still helps his wife in her business? A blended family, five daughters and grandkids who love grandpa, the fire chief.
"The grandkids like to come up and ride on the trucks when we have a parade and that type of thing.”
New station completed. Now, really? Retirement?
“Hopefully, if the retirements work out well, can retire," said Rupp. "We should have the house paid off by then, probably the business paid off by then.
So, what happens when that day does come?
“I’d like to do a little traveling. The wife and I, we’ve talked about trying to get a motor home and maybe go see the country that way.”
Keeping in mind his dedication as a Palisade fire fighter, I listened as he explained what it all means.
“You got to help somebody. And a lot of time, they come around and help you.”
Now a secret. What’s this peach of a guy’s favorite fruit? It’s Palisade—
I was thinking he would say "peaches"!
“Peaches are good too, but I think I like pears better.”
Congratulations to Palisade, Richard and his firefighters on their new station as they continue to serve their community.