By Angelica Ingram
He started his career in the park and eventually worked his way up to become the first paid fire chief for the municipality of Dysart et al.
Soon Miles Maughan will be heading into a new position one of the few he has never had before: retiree.
On Jan. 25 at the regular meeting of Dysart council Maughan announced that as of this June he will be retiring from his position as municipal fire chief.
“After a number of years it’s time to turn the reins over to someone else with more energy and the ability to change with the times” he told the paper.
Born and raised in Haliburton Maughan has been working for the municipality since 1977 in a variety of roles.
“I started out in the parks [department] as a part-time job” he told the Echo following the meeting. “I was 19 years old.”
Maughan moved on to the roads department eventually becoming the roads superintendent and then operations manager.
He pursued a career in municipal work as it was a good year-round opportunity at the time he said.
Throughout his nearly 40-year career with Dysart Maughan also served as a volunteer firefighter something that was close to his heart.
In 1991 he became the fire chief however he still worked in the roads department while leading the crew that was and still is made up of volunteers.
Maughan became the municipality’s first full-time paid fire chief in 2009.
Now 58 the chief is looking forward to the next stage of his life.
“I’ve been able to retire since 2013” he said when asked what sparked the decision.
Maughan said his wife and son are supportive of the decision although he jokes his wife has reservations about going to work in the summertime while Maughan gets to stay at home.
Looking ahead to the next chapter Maughan plans to spend his time outside partaking in some of his favourite activities such as canoeing and snowshoeing.
“I’d like to try stand-up paddle-boarding” he said. “And I have a bush lot where I can go cut snowshoe trails and ATV trails … and I have some to-do jobs at home.”
The chief has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the municipality and has seen plenty of change in his career including working under four different chief administrative officers and seeing firefighters come and go.
There have also been changes to methods in firefighting equipment training and much more.
Firefighting is a big commitment as is keeping up with the training and education component said Maughan.
“The fire chief’s position in itself is changing and evolving” he said. “Now it’s more a director of emergency services for the municipality … it’s a big job. It’s time for somebody new to take it over.”
Maughan will be staying in the community and also plans to stay on as a volunteer firefighter.
Dysart Reeve Murray Fearrey has watched Maughan climb up the municipal ladder and says he will miss the dedicated employee.
“He’s done everything that he was ever asked to do without hesitation and he’s just been a model employee for working with council” said the reeve. “He served well in a volunteer capacity as well as an employee. There’s nothing but good to say about his performance.”
The reeve commended Maughan’s ability to learn new things and get along with his volunteer firefighters.
Fearrey said the municipality will be looking at filling Maughan’s position in the next couple of months.
Maughan has some advice to the next chief that steps in to fill his shoes whoever it may be.
“They won’t know it all it takes years. And you have to earn the respect of firefighters the community” he says as his voice chokes up.
Asked if he will miss his firefighters Maughan replies “definitely.”
The chief’s last official day will be June 30.