New fire chief takes charge in township
New Eudora Township Fire Department Fire Chief Mike Baxter said he is managing a department that mostly runs itself.
"Once you get a department going -- and the department was established -- it runs itself," he said. "Until an incident comes on, that's really when you step in. Everything else is run between everybody in the department. I'm just really here as a go-to man and making sure that everything gets done."
The Eudora Township Board appointed Baxter as chief of the Eudora Township Fire Department on Nov. 9.
Baxter, who still is employed full-time as paramedic for Jefferson County Ambulance, had volunteered with the Township Fire Department from 1999 to 2002 and then with the Eudora Fire Department from 1999 to 2006.
Baxter said that his duties were mostly those of an administrator.
Baxter moved to Eudora in 1985 with his wife, Tiffany, who was born and raised in Eudora. He moved away for a short time in 1991 while he served with the Marines.
Helping others has become a way of life for Baxter, who points to his time in the Marines as the beginning of it all.
"I went into the Marine Corps in '91 as a military police officer and that's what really got me started in public safety," Baxter said. "I got out of the Marines and just immediately started volunteering with the De Soto fire (department.) Then, when I moved back to Eudora in '99, I kept up with it and furthered my education and went full-time as a paramedic."
The Eudora Township Fire Department is responsible for the rural areas south of the Kansas River to 700 Road and from the Johnson County line west to 1800 Road. It currently has 28 volunteers, whose service Baxter said was vital to the township and city of Eudora.
"This city -- the way it's set up right now -- volunteering is the backbone of it," Baxter said. "We're at a stage right now where we might have to look at different alternatives besides volunteering to keep up with growth and demand. But I think that it's a good way to give something back to the city and have some pride."