Scheffler Retires from PFD
A retirement fish fry was held Thursday, July 2, at the number one fire station in Piggott for outgoing chief Bradley Scheffler. A 28 year veteran of the department, Scheffler stepped down as chief recently although he plans to continue to be active in the future. During the retirement gathering he was recognized for his service to the community by a variety of local dignitaries and his peers, and accepted a plaque presented by State Rep. Joe Jett.
A longtime and active member of the community, Scheffler will continue to serve the city of Piggott as the water/wastewater manager as he oversees an operation which serves about 4,000 customers. He has worked in the industry for 30 years, and has been with the city since 1985. His father, Jim Scheffler, also served in the same capacity. Scheffler was also recognized by the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environment Association (AWW&WEA) at their convention in 2014 as the Water Works Manager of the year for the state.
And, although he will continue in his capacity with the city Scheffler has chosen to step down from his duties as fire chief, and take a temporary retirement after nearly three decades on call.
"I've had the honor of serving on the fire department for 28 years, the last nine as chief," Scheffler remarked during his retirement party. "I am retiring from the department for the time being, but after three months under the LOFPI retirement system I'll be allowed to continue to serve as a volunteer. I plan to help the department with paperwork, and anytime the department needs to respond with the Jaws of Life."
As a veteran of the local department Scheffler noted he was fortunate to serve under several good leaders, and with dozens of firefighters. "I really enjoyed working under the past chiefs--Bill Hogue, Sam Williams and John Harlan," he observed. "I've also had the honor of serving with over 50 different men, counting retirees and those currently volunteering. We've had both hard times and good times, but we were always like one big family."
Scheffler also offered his thanks for the support the department has, and continues to, receive from city leaders. "I'd like to thank the current administration, and the past mayors and city council members, for their help making the fire department one of the better ones to be found in a small town in this part of the country," he added. "I've also enjoyed working with the citizens of the community and I appreciate their support for the fire department."
With nearly three decades on the job Scheffler noted there were a number of fires which will stand out in his memory. "One of the toughest fires we fought was in the old Gossard Outlet building, which is now a storage building behind the NAPA store. That one was tough, and the fire at Aerial Bouquets was a hard one--and there was the fire at the Dollar General store on the square," he remembered. "But, one of the worst was the Featherlite fire. I remember me and Ronny Graddy and another guy started in there and we realized that lacquer containers had busted and it was all over the floor. We got out of there quick-and just as we did that stuff caught fire and blew the doors out."
A veteran of hundreds of fire calls, Scheffler added there is one aspect of the job he has never grown accustomed to. "I'd rather go on a dozen fire calls than have to respond to an accident scene," he added. "We've been called out on some really bad ones, and that can be hard on a guy--especially when you live in a small community where you know everybody. But, there are some guys better adapted to it than others, and we all pull together and get it done. It's part of the job."
In looking to the future Scheffler notes the department is in good shape as longtime volunteer Brian Haley has taken over as chief. "The Piggott Fire Department has a great group of volunteers and several of them have over 20 years of experience," he added. "And being a firefighter offers a great opportunity for young people to serve their community. I just hope that the community continues to support the department and understands every member is a volunteer and has a job they do for a living. I hope they appreciate the fact the work they do on the fire department takes a lot of time away for them being with their families."
Scheffler has also been instrumental in plotting future growth for the department, including the efforts to acquire the new service/rescue truck which will be delivered later this year. Thanks to his work, along with that of his colleagues and those who came before him, the city of Piggott can rest assured the local fire department is well trained, equipped and prepared when needed.