Town of Lawrence honors retiring fire chief
By Josephine Hinderman
His two decades-long service to the town makes him the longest-tenured chief in Brown County, as he retires.
“I just thought it was one of the coolest things,” Minten said, enthusiastically. “It’s pretty nice, and it’s a pretty nice honor to have.”
Having been with the department for 33 years, Minten remarks on how much the department has changed during his time of service.
“Full-time and volunteer [firefighters] didn’t work together,” Minten recalled. “But then we developed MABAS Division 112, and since then you can see these groups work together super well. Everyone helps each other so much now compared to when I first started.”
MABAS, or Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, is a mutual aid system that has been utilized by firefighters nationwide since the 1960s, and it has had a place in Wisconsin since 2004.
This system encourages teamwork by having a common radio frequency, as well as shared “standards of operation, incident command, minimum level of equipment staffing, safety and on-scene terminology.”
MABAS Division 112 consists of 17 separate fire departments in the Brown County area, as well as a private ambulance service.
“Everyone is on the same page,” said Minten. “And it took a lot of work for us to get there… Memorable calls are so memorable because of how many firefighters will come together and work together.”
Minten also wanted to highlight the importance of teamwork when it comes to entering the fire service.
“I tell a lot of the young guys that it’s a very rewarding career, but it’s nothing but a team effort. If you don’t like teamwork, then don’t go into fire service,” he said. “But it’s a very, very rewarding career. To be able to help someone at the worst moment in their life – it’s more than rescuing a cat from up in a tree kind of scenario… Helping others is key – that’s the big one. A lot of younger people don’t understand that you have to give back [to your community], and the fire service is nothing but giving back. You’re representing and aiding the community…it truly is rewarding.
“You may not miss the work, but you miss the people. I’m able to look back and say ‘Man, we really made a difference’, and I think that’s great… I’m gonna miss the people, but it was a great career!”
Minten officially retired from the Lawrence Fire Department March 31, but he is still continuing to serve within the community through the Lawrence Public Works and Utility Departments, the Technical Committee for the Central Brown County Water Authority and the WI Medical Credit Union.
“His leadership will truly be missed,” said the Lawrence Fire Department in a social media post.
To contact the Lawrence Fire Department for a non-emergency issue, call (920) 391-7450.