New chief for CVFD

Published 10:36 pm Friday, January 30, 2015

Jacob Johnson has been installed as Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department’s new chief, after Greg Parsons stepped down.

Jacob Johnson has been installed as Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department’s new chief, after Greg Parsons stepped down.

Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department’s fifth chief in its 60-year existence says he won’t be fixing anything, because “nothing’s broken.”

Jacob Johnson, an eight-year member of the organization, said he learned of his promotion during the board of directors’ meeting in December. It was officially announced at the board’s January meeting, on Wednesday night.

Johnson takes over from Greg Parsons, who decided it was time to step down after 13 years.

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“It’s certainly a lot of responsibility,” Johnson said.

The organization’s success owes thanks to consistent leadership, he said, and it’s a quality he plans to embrace.

“I have some big shoes to fill as far as the chiefs we’ve had in the past — Greg Parsons, Jerry Saunders and even on back,” he said.

“It’s always had very good leadership, so it’s a role I certainly don’t take lightly at all. The department has such a good reputation in the city of Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, and all around.”

The 35-year-old is married and has a 9-year-old son. He lives less than a quarter-mile from the station, making one aspect of his role — being a visible presence among the membership — easier.

“I decided to join to be able to give something back to the community,” Johnson said. “I grew up knowing a lot of people involved in it.”

He said that being a maritime pilot affords him flexibility to contribute to the volunteer fire department.

His new role is not time-limited, and Johnson said he would do it “for as long as I feel I’m able to give this job the time it requires and the department deserves, and as long as the board of directors feels I’m fit for the direction they want to go in.”

The organization currently has about 40 active members and four apprentices, Johnson said, along with many life members who were actively involved in years past but aren’t anymore.

“We are always looking for new members,” he said. “We have an active apprentice program,” which gives apprentices a year to attain their certifications from the time the board votes them into the program.

“The more people you have to spread the workload, the better service you can provide,” Johnson said.

While Johnson said there might be some things to “hone, or fine tune,” there’s certainly no need for major changes.

“I’m certainly not stepping in to change anything or fix anything, because nothing’s broken,” he said.