At a recent board meeting, Fire Chief Chris Berndt was honored for twenty-five years of service as fire chief of the Western Taney County Fire Protection District. Chief Berndt has a total cumulative time with the district of nearly thirty years, twenty-five of those as Chief.
Chief Berndt started with Western in 1983 while he was a student at College of the Ozarks. After graduating college, he moved to Raymore Missouri and was hired as a full-time firefighter working his way up the ranks to assistant chief. In 1994 he returned to Western as the assistant chief of operations and within a few months was promoted to chief of the district.
In his time as chief, the district has grown considerably in population and responsibility. His tenure has yielded eight additional fire stations for the district, numerous apparatus, an equipment replacement program, and increased volunteer staff, all without requesting a tax increase to residents.
In a surprise celebration of his accomplishment at the board meeting Chief Berndt was presented with a plaque from the fire district and a certificate of achievement from Missouri State Fire Marshal Tim Bean.