PIQUA — Piqua Fire Department Assistant Chief Chad Kennedy said “We never stop learning,” as he spoke about his desire to learn and experience is passion for helping others.
The veteran firefighter recently completed not one, but two, intense academic programs — simultaneously.
Kennedy has become the first-ever Piqua firefighter to graduate from the prestigious Fire Executive Program, a challenging two-and-one-half year program taught through the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association. Kennedy became one of only 20 full-time professional firefighters chosen, through competitive examination, for the the class.
The program is aimed at command officers in the fire service. “You learn things like strategic planning, executive finance, the politics behind department operations, how to implement change, disciplinary process and even a bit of law,” said Kennedy.
The program includes two residence programs per year along with assignments to complete in between, followed by an applied research Capstone project.
While such an extensive endeavor would be enough of a challenge, Kennedy was also hard at work on another goal.
He was attending Wright State University to pursue his master’s in Psychiatric Health degree. Kennedy passed his national board certification in June.
Kennedy is a United States Army National Guard veteran, having served eight years before leaving the Guard in 2003. After a several-year hiatus, Kennedy was commissioned as a second-lieutenant in the Army as he pursued his master’s degree. He has since been promoted to first-lieutenant and plans to use his degree to help provide mental health help for our troops.
“When I started the Wright State program, one of the AMED recruiters was there and he talked to me about getting back in. They were willing to provide assistance though the two-and-a half-year program, if in turn, I would go to work for them.” Kennedy said, “The opportunity was there. The Army took really good care of me.”
Kennedy is now credentialed to actually serve troops service-wide. His next step with the military is the Officer Basic Course later this year. He is currently attached to the Army Professional Medical Command, based in Georgia and will be further assigned upon completion of OBC.
Successfully completing both programs was “very intense,” said Kennedy. “But I had a decent support system, so it was manageable.”
The ultimate beneficiary of the extra degrees and certifications sought by Piqua firefighters is the citizens of Piqua. “I wholly support any training that may be considered ‘specialty or above-and-beyond training’ in any of the rescue genres that would make the department stronger for the community,” said Chief Brent Pohlschneider, “and make us better able to serve in any event that comes up.”
Like so many of our area men and women who serve in the Reserve and National Guard, in addition to serving our country, Kennedy will continue to serve the citizens of Piqua as an assistant fire chief.
Reach Mike Ullery at (937) 451-3335.