Changing of the guard

A change in the leadership of the Fort Dodge Fire Department was marked Monday.

The retirement of Fire Chief David Luers was approved by the City Council on the same evening that the elected officials approved the hiring of his successor, Kent Hulett.

Luers had been the fire chief since Aug. 1, 2010. He has about 36 years of experience, mostly in Burlington, where he worked until coming to Fort Dodge to take the chief’s position.

”I take it into my heart that public service is a higher calling,” Luers said.

He received a proclamation of thanks from the City Council.

Ankeny Fire Chief Rex Mundt, the president of the Iowa Association of Professional Fire Chiefs, gave Luers a small trophy recognizing his decades of service.

Wednesday will be his last day as a city employee.

Hulett will start on the job today, creating a brief overlap between the tenures of the incoming and outgoing chiefs.

His starting salary will be $74,887.97.

”Public service has always been my passion,” Hulett said Monday evening.

His said his top goals are to provide the highest level of public safety and ensure that all of the firefighters will be able to go home safely when their shift is over.

Hulett’s career began with short stints with fire departments in the Illinois communities of Lisle-Woodridge and Carol Stream. He then worked for 29 years as a firefighter in Rockford, Ill. He retired from there with the rank of captain.

He next became the fire chief in Lincoln, Ill. He worked there for about three years before becoming chief of the Chippewa Fire District in Lake Hallis, Wis. He left that position in June 2012 to care for his elderly father, who was also a fire chief during his career.

Hulett most recently worked part time on building permit and fire protection issues for the city of Belvidere, Ill.

He has an associate’s degree from Rock Valley College in Rockford. He is certified as a fire inspector, fire investigator and fire department officer. He has attended the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., and was a paramedic for 14 years.