Clearwater fire chief retires after 53 years of service

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CLEARWATER, KS After 53 years volunteering on the Clearwater Fire Department, Fire Chief Marvin Schauf is retiring.

Saturday the community celebrated him and honored his more than half-century of service.

For 53 years, when there's fire in Clearwater, there's also Fire Chief Marvin Schauf.

"He's just been the one you can always count on. If you had a problem, if Marvin was there, you felt like you were okay," said Donna Wise, who lives in Clearwater.

Becky Schievelbein remembers a fire from nearly 11 years ago that killed a family member.

"Marvin was there that night," Schievelbein said. They were very, very, very considerate. It's really comforting to know you know these people, that they care," she said.

After more than a half-century of volunteering and caring for this community, the chief is stepping down.

"I'm 76 years old," Schauf said. "Got to where I couldn't put that bunker gear on, hard to get in and out of the truck. So it was time to retire," he said. "I'll let the young ones go and fight the fires."

Saturday, Clearwater celebrated his retirement - though the party carried a touch of bittersweet.

"Yeah you do feel a little bit of a loss you really do" Schievelbein said.

"When you do 53 years at it, community's really been lucky to have him," said Roger Dawson, a former Clearwater firefighter who also volunteered for decades.

"Marvin is what Clearwater is all about. It's small town America. Neighbors do for one another, and Marvin's the one who's been doing it," Wise said.

Schauf might be retiring, but there will still be a Schauf at the Clearwater fire house. His son, Don Schauf is a Sedgwick County EMS captain and volunteers there.

"It's just the passion of it. It's going in and seeing someone hurt or injured and being able to put a smile on their face and make them feel better," Don Schauf said.

And the younger Schauf says his two sons, 11 and 14, have already expressed interest in carrying on the tradition.

Schauf will be the last chief to hold that official title. Clearwater created a new paid position to fill Schauf's role. Scott Cooper from Tennessee is now the city's emergency services director.