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First Responder of the Week: Doug Crowell

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 9:41 AM EDT
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BALLVILLE, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ballville Township Fire Department is gearing up to go through a big change. Fire Chief Doug Crowell is retiring after 25 years, handing over the reins to the next generation.

Crowell joined the department more than 40 years ago, earning the honor of First Responder of the Week.

“I started in ... August of 1975, as a cadet, and just stuck with it, and ended up where I’m at today,” Crowell said.

Crowell had one request as we told his story.

“What I would like you to do is show the members that are here, because I’m telling you, this is a team sport, you can’t do this alone,” Crowell said. “I didn’t get where I’m at on my own. It’s not just me. All of them deserve this.”

Crowell brought the entire volunteer department in for filming to make sure they also received recognition.

“That’s Doug. That’s the way he is,” Bob Kusmer said. Kusmer nominated Crowell for First Responder of the Week. “He’s shown that dedication to his family. His sons are fourth-generation members.”

Crowell’s wife served for 25 years, and his sons are still active members. In fact, it goes back even further as the Crowell family helped establish the department.

“My grandfather was one of the original members, and what we call a charter member,” Crowell said.

Every three years, the members vote for a new chief. And for the last 25 years, they’ve elected Crowell. But now, he’s retiring.

“When I announced it, there were a couple people who said, ‘Well, what if we nominate you again?,’” Crowell said.

But after a quarter of a century leading the department, a job that is often full-time and never paid, Crowell said it’s time to step back.

“It’s time to step back, get some new blood, get some new leadership, new ideas,” Crowell said.

Crowell is ready to spend more time doing his favorite job as a family man and grandfather what will likely be the fifth generation of Ballville firefighters.

“I guess it’s in the blood and it’s in the family,” Crowell said.

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