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Chief Stephen Simon
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Regional Fire Chiefs
From left: David Hoback, Roanoke City; Stephen Simon, Roanoke County; Jeff Beckner, Botetourt County
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Chief Simon and family
From left: Jeannine Simon, Chief Stephen Simon, Grace Simon, Kobey Simon
At a press conference today, Roanoke County Administrator Thomas Gates announced the appointment of Stephen Simon as Chief of Fire & Rescue. Simon is the third fire chief of Roanoke County and the first new appointed leader in 18 years. Members of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, regional fire and police chiefs, as well as other department employees and volunteers were in attendance at the press conference, held at Fort Lewis Fire & Rescue Station in Salem.
The search for a new chief began in April. More than 40 candidates from 22 states submitted applications. The final 3 candidates interviewed with the county administrator.
"Originally I wanted to look outside of the valley," said Jason Peters, chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors. "Chief Simon was chosen by his peers and the community leaders. He understands the challenges of the department. This is a new chapter for the Roanoke County fire department."
Simon has served with Roanoke County for more than 20 years. Prior to this appointment, he served as Deputy Chief of Administration. He has also served as adjunct faculty for Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Hampton University. Simon is a member of the International Association of Firefighters and International Association of Fire Chiefs.
"Our department is a team that does great things," said Simon. "I am honored to be the coach of that team. The men and women on the team are the real heroes."
An active member of the community, Simon is an advocate of reducing youth injuries through his work with the American Academy of Pediatrics where he assists in developing Fire-EMS training programs.
"I remember as a boy riding to the fire station to put gas in my bike tires," said Simon. "I want to get back to that. To having fire stations become community hubs again. To being role models for youth."
There will be a public meet and greet with Chief Simon tomorrow, July 29, at 4 p.m. at the Roanoke County Public Safety Building.
Simon will assume his new position July 29.