Longtime Shawnee Township fire chief retires

SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Todd Truesdale, chief of the Shawnee Township Fire Department since 2009, submitted paperwork to the board of township trustees Tuesday morning officially announcing his retirement from that position.

Township trustee Mike Keith said Truesdale “has been talking about retirement for a while now” and decided to make it official this week. John Norris has been named acting fire chief as the trustees begin the process of filling the vacancy left by Truesdale’s departure.

Keith said applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Dec. 26 for the non-union position. He said Wednesday that “seven applications have already been submitted, including some from within the department.” Once the deadline for applications has passed trustees will conduct interviews, select a preferred applicant and proceed with a background check.

“We hope to have the position filled as soon as possible, but it depends on the number of applicants,” Keith said.

Truesdale joined the Shawnee Fire Department in 1987 and took over the reins of the department from Tim Mosher on Feb. 9, 2009. Truesdale was serving as platoon chief at the time and was the department’s hazardous materials team leader.

Keith, who during his lengthy career as a member and chief of the township police department worked in unison with Truesdale, said township officials “appreciate his time and service” to the public.

Truesdale is currently using accrued leave time to finish out the year and was unavailable for comment.

Earlier this year he, along with other area fire chiefs, spoke to the Lima Rotary Club on the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Truesdale said the day changed him forever.

“I’ll never forget. That day I was there with all these firemen sitting in a lounge. We watched what was happening and I had never seen them get tears in their eyes like they did that day,” he said.