Rod Seals retires as Rapid City Fire Chief
Seals retirement will be effective, June 19. His retirement will mark the end of a 25-year career - a move to keep RCFD on solid finanical footing.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — It was 25 years ago that Rod Seals came on as an entry level firefighter with the Rapid City Fire Department. Since then, he has served on several capacities.
His dad was a volunteer firefighter in Wyoming and that inspired him to pursue a career in the field.
He’s spent a fourth of a century of his life with the same company.
Seals says, “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, I can’t believe it’s gone this fast. I think that is what everybody says when they get to this stage. It’s been a wonderful career moving up through the ranks of the RCFD.”
Over the course of his career he has seen some changes, like more technology and stricter physical requirements, but at the end of the day- the heart of the job is still the same.
“One thing that doesn’t change is our job is in the streets, when we have that human contact to do our jobs,” says Seals. “Really technology is not going to change that, yeah the tools change that we use – (but) that human contact is still that most important thing there is”.
One thing he does miss is being on the front lines as a firefighter but that the administrative side has it’s own contentment. The bonds he has built is the captivating factor of his career.
Seals says, “You know it’s the camaraderie of that team approach that we have and it’s really belonging to something that is bigger than yourself and just being a small part of the success of a place like this.”
Seals said he was thinking about retirement before the cornavirus pandemic hit, but says that budget concerns accelerated the thought since he is the highest-paid city employee eligible for retirement. He hopes that money will be saved to prevent future layoffs.
Seals will part ways with the job position, but not with the relationships he has made here at the fire department, he says, “There’s a long list there of plenty I’m going to miss but it is certainly the people of this department.”
With the extra time on his hands, he said he will get back to welding or metal fabrication. He also plans on enjoying more time doing outdoor activities.