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Fire Chief Napolitano announces retirement
new deh fire chief napolitano retires pic web
On Friday, Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano announced his plans to retire. He is shown receiving the Fire Chief of the Year award From the Kansas State Association of Fire Chiefs last October in Lawrence. - photo by Tribune file photo

 Longtime Great Bend Fire Chief Mike Napolitano announced Friday he plans to retire effective Sept. 1. 

“It has been my honor – my life’s work for the better part of 43 years – to serve the City of Great Bend,” he said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Great Bend and I pray God bless you all.”

This was a difficult decision, he said. “Because I have given so much of my family and myself to the department during that time, it will be sad to leave but I am ready to begin the next chapter of my life.”

Being a firefighter is a difficult but enormously rewarding calling, he said. “Behind nearly every firefighter is a spouse, parent or child who sacrifices time with their loved ones on a moment’s notice, praying for their safe return.

“The individuals I have served alongside have been courageous, hardworking, and devoted to protecting our community. I am grateful for and thank each and every one of them,” he said.

He said he is proud of his service and accomplishments as a volunteer firefighter, firefighter, EMT, paramedic, captain, assistant chief, and as chief. But, “I am even more proud of the service and sacrifices of my firefighters, staff and their families.”

In the statement, Napolitano didn’t give any indication what his post-retirement plans might be.