Hoppenjans to bring ‘new blood’ as fire chief


FERDINAND — The Ferdinand Volunteer Fire Department will ring in the new year with a new fire chief.


The current chief, Dan Lindauer, has served on the department since 1989 and as chief for the last 12 years. He announced at the Wednesday Town Council meeting that John Hoppenjans will take over the position starting Jan. 1. Hoppenjans is a fellow department veteran who has worked on the 32-member team for 15 years.

“I just feel like it was a good time,” said Lindauer. “I don’t want to say I got burned out on it, (but) there’s just a time when you feel a change should be made in your life and I felt that the time was here.”

Hoppenjans, 35, was elected to the position at the department’s Dec. 5 meeting. He said he always wanted to be chief someday, adding he learned about mediation and listening to both sides of an issue from Lindauer.

Hoppenjans has served as the group’s safety officer for the past 13 years and said many of the department’s younger members looked at him to run for the fire chief position this year.

“I just decided to step up to the plate, take on a new role and hopefully lead the department,” he said. “I’m just excited and ready for the new year.”

The fire chief’s main responsibilities include making all final decisions for the department, filing paperwork about all fire runs with the state, reporting to the media and serving as a member of the county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Lindauer, 57, said he doesn’t plan to leave the department anytime soon. He’d even like to hold an officer position, but that will ultimately be up to the leadership in the department. Lindauer joined the department because he was attracted to the idea of being a firefighter and was willing to serve his community 24/7.

Prior to becoming chief, he served six years as assistant chief and six years as safety officer.

He said that while he was ready to step down, he thought the department was ready for a change, too. It wasn’t that he felt he wasn’t fulfilling his duties but because he had been the leader for so long.

“After so many years, new blood sometimes does help,” Lindauer said. “Get new ideas in there.”

Over the past three to five years, the department has responded to 130 to 140 calls a year. About 65 percent of those calls were for emergency medical services.

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