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George DeShields has been named the new chief of the Manchester Fire and Rescue Department. Manchester Mayor Lonnie Norman confirmed the news to the Manchester Times Wednesday afternoon.
“I like how he looked, the things he said and the way he presented himself,” said Norman,
who said DeShields was selected out of 20 applicants and was interviewed four times.
DeShields has been an assistant chief with the AEDC Fire Department for the past three years. Prior to that he spent 21 years as a firefighter in the Air Force, most recently as the Deputy Theatre Fire Services Manager in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq where he managed fire protection for all three countries, he said. He served there for two and a half years.
“I’ve found [Manchester] to call home,” DeShields said in a telephone interview from Manchester Fire Hall Wednesday. “I enjoy serving the community and I saw an opportunity in this position to take the department forward and build on the strengths they have here.”
DeShields also serves as a volunteer firefighter with the Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department and was a reserve for the Manchester Fire Department before taking the chief position. He said plans to remain as a volunteer with Hillsboro so he can stay “hands on.”
DeShields’ appointment will need to be approved by the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen at the May 7 meeting, but Norman didn’t anticipate a snag. DeShields is working out a two-week notice with AEDC but is already working in Manchester on his days off.
“I’ve already had a couple of firemen tell me they thought I made the right choice,” said Norman, adding that some aldermen sat in on interviews.
In total Norman interviewed five candidates out of the 20 applicants before settling on DeShields, who is originally from the Philadelphia, Pa. area.
“I’m happy to be here and really pleased to serve the community,” DeShields added. “I’m looking forward to doing good things.”