Nisswa: Bailey takes over as fire chief- Geike steps back after 19 years as chief
After 19 years as Nisswa fire chief, Richard Geike stepped back, and 24-year firefighter Shawn Bailey is now chief.
"I'm still a firefighter. I will have 30 years on in June," Geike said. "I don't plan on retiring in June, but it's anybody's bet after that.
"I've just gotten busy. I just don't feel I was doing the job that I should have been," he said, noting so much work is now done on computers and smartphones, which can be challenging.
Geike owns Fritz's Resort, and in the past few years became busier after he opened S-N-K Car Wash and Oil Change in Nisswa.
Bailey has been a firefighter for 24 years and has held officer roles the last eight years, most recently as assistant chief. He also works for F.I.R.E. Inc. (Fire Instruction & Rescue Education), teaching firefighting classes across the state. He specializes in propane classes and teaches training burns as well.
"I have a big pair of shoes to fill," said Bailey, an operations manager at Ferrellgas in Brainerd. "I'm looking forward to leading our department in a good direction. Training is our No. 1 goal and we'll continue forward with training. I believe the training we receive is the best in the state.
"I look forward to serving my community," he said.
Geike, 56, also enjoys serving his community.
"That's why I joined and that's why I'll still stay," he said.
He's proud of the training his firefighters had under him as chief.
"We've taken schooling a long ways. We've taken schooling very seriously and have lots of guys with state certificates," he said, noting the department also obtained quality equipment over the years.
Geike also praised the fire department taking over response to medical calls a few years ago.
"That's been fantastic. We've done a lot of good out there," he said.
He praised Bailey as the next chief.
"He'll do a good job. He'll keep growing it. He's very well trained. He feels about training the way all of us did. ... He's younger and into computer stuff," Geike said.
"I've loved every minute of it. I have," he said of his years as chief. "The guys work hard. They deserve most of the credit because they worked very hard to grow the fire department."