Marion Firefighter Chad Jenkins is retiring after eleven years of serving the Marion Fire Department. Jenkins was hired by the MFD on February 26th, 2008. He advanced to the rank of Engineer, then served for a year and a half as one of few Fire Prevention Officers handling fire investigations. He soon returned to Engineer, explaining he missed working as a driver and being ready for action as opposed to spending time investigating, away from fellow firefighters. “I wanted to be back on the truck. That’s where my heart was,” expressed Jenkins.
In 2017, Jenkins was part of a crew that saved a gunshot victim during an active shooting incident. Jenkins and three other brave firefighters were awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest award given through the Indiana Fire Marshal’s Office. Earlier that year, Jenkins had achieved a grant of thermal imaging cameras and respective training for both the MFD and Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department. Both cases of outstanding work, personally and part of a team, were each honored through the City of Marion’s Employee Spotlight program.
On October 30th, 2018, Jenkins and his family survived a serious car accident. Jenkins sustained broken bones in all four limbs and suffered head trauma. He went through an extensive recovery process over the following months, and not only walks again, but displays a newfound graceful spirit and grateful perspective on life while pressing through remaining recovery and therapy.
This year, Jenkins displayed selfless leadership in sharing his story and life lessons to all of his fellow firefighters. The purpose was to use his experience to educate his peers on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how to handle work-related stress. “In sharing my story, even if it just helps one other firefighter, I want them to have awareness and courage to get help early if they are going through something, and not wait until it’s too late. They have girlfriends, wives, or children. I don’t want them to fall into the rut I was in before the crash awakened me.” explained Jenkins.
Marion Fire Chief Geoff Williams explained that Jenkins’ dedication to the fire service has touched thousands of lives in the community. “This was more than a career for Chad, it was his calling. It’s difficult for all of us to accept these unfair circumstances that Chad and his family have been through, but he continues to stay positive. We hope to work with Chad again, and wish him the best of luck.”
Jenkins’ future plans are uncertain, but he has developed a passion for horse rescue after undergoing equine therapy as part of his recovery. He also plans to volunteer at Marion General Hospital.
An official retirement date is pending finalization.