Sunday, January 26, 2020

Columbus fire chief’s award is a well-deserved honor

Thanks to the excellent front-page article in last week’s SCN, I was glad to hear of Rich Cowger’s award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). I have known Rich since I moved here in 1995 and have grown to like and respect him. He is first of all a leader. People follow him because he leads by example. He knows not just the business of firefighting, but how to address terrorism, natural disaster programs, emergency medical needs and much more.
My wife and I had built a innovative rural home on a subdivision near the town of Columbus. Our roof water collection system would be copied by scores of people in the county and state. We could collect enough water not only for our own needs, but by storing it in concrete cisterns we were able to help our neighbors in times of drought. We made that water available to the Columbus Fire Department for use on the subdivision or wherever it was needed. Rich organized his volunteers and helped us install valves and spigots compatible with fire trucks and tenders. It was due to Rich’s leadership of the fine women and men of the Columbus fire department that ensured that the project succeeded.
Rich has always been calm during emergencies. That coupled with a sense of humor and soft spoken manner has endeared him to people in Columbus, the county and across the state and country .
His award is encouraging in a year of disappointments. To be recognized for doing something positive is an antidote to a country which seems bent on political bickering and name calling. We need to remember just how lucky we are to have a man like Rich Cowger doing an important job in Stillwater County, the state and the nation.

Dave Grimland