The City of Russellville has hired a new fire chief who will officially begin duty May 22, 2014. Shawn Ross will be taking over for retiring Billy Poole who will be leaving the end of July. Ross has lengthy and impressive credentials, as well as a passion for continuing the growth of the Russellville Fire Department. Ross is coming from the Owensboro Fire Department where he has served for the past five years.
Approximately six weeks ago, Poole informed mayor Mark Stratton he would be leaving in July after 15 years with the department. Poole began working for the city department in 1999 serving as chief since 2007, after the retirement of chief J.L. Williamson. Before Poole became a firefighter he served as the Adairville Chief of Police for 14 years. He also spent six years in the United States Army.
The city advertised for applicants for the position of fire chief soon after Poole announced his retirement. Poole, along with the mayor and chief of police Victor Shifflett, meticulously combed through all those who applied for the position, and after completing the interviewing process, it was clear Ross was the best man for the job.
“I was very impressed with Shawn Ross and his credentials,” said mayor Stratton. “He will be a great asset to the city and our fire department.”
Ross, who is the brother of Logan County Attorney Joe Ross, is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Public Health. After Sept 11, 2001, Ross joined the United States Army serving several years during the invasion and stabilization of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ross was a Staff Sergent with the Infantry 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell. He was also a team and squad leader leading soldiers on hundreds of combat missions on the front lines.
Along with being a member of the Owensboro Fire Department, Ross is a certified EMT, a Live Burn Instructor, a Fire Fighter 1 and 2, and many other accomplishments. He holds many certificates from the National Fire Academy including Leadership 1 and 2 and Instinct Command System. In 2013, Ross received his Master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Kentucky University graduating with a 4.0.
During the Tuesday, May 6 city council meeting, councilwoman Sandra Kinser made a motion to hire Ross as the next city fire chief. Her motion was seconded by councilman Bill Decker and passed with a unanimous vote.
“I want to say thank you to the mayor and city council,” said chief Ross. “It’s truly an honor and privilege to receive this position.”
Ross said he had visited Russellville several times and is glad he and his family have the opportunity to move to this community. He added he had noticed the people were very kind and there was a lot of rich history and character in the community.
“My family and I are excited to come to Russellville,” said Ross, who recognized retiring chief Poole for doing such a great job at the department. He also mentioned Poole had laid a great foundation and supplied excellent protection and service.
“I know this position has great responsibly, not one I take lightly. We will continue to work hard and train. I promise I won’t let you down,” said Ross to the council and mayor at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I want to thank chief Poole for what he has done for the City of Russellville and the fire department,” said mayor Stratton. “As a city we always want to try to do better each time. Billy has stepped us up and with Ross coming in, I know we will continue to climb up that ladder.”