Western Taney County Fire Protection District Chief Chris Berndt was honored for 25 years as fire chief during a surprise celebration July 10.
Berndt began his career with the fire district in 1983 when he was a student at College of the Ozarks.
Berndt moved to Raymore, Missouri after graduating and was hired as a full-time firefighter and worked his way up the ranks to become assistant chief, according to a press release from the fire district.
In 1994, Berndt returned as the assistant chief of operations and was quickly promoted to chief of the district.
Since becoming chief, the district has grown considerably. Eight fire stations have been added, numerous apparatus, an equipment replacement program and increased volunteer staff, the press release stated.
“Congratulations Chief, this district appreciates your exhibition of our six core values: Community, Commitment, Caring, Courage, Integrity, and Teamwork,” said the press release.
At the celebration, Berndt was recognized with a plaque from the district and a Certificate of Achievement from Missouri State Fire Marshal Tim Bean.
Berndt has no intentions of retiring anytime soon, according to the press release.