DeGrand Ends 31-year Career with Department This Week
Deputy Chief Craig DeGrand started with Marshfield Fire & Rescue on February 25, 1986. After 31 years and 10 months of service, DeGrand is scheduled to retire at the end of this week.
From a young age, DeGrand knew that he wanted to be a firefighter.
“Apparently I told my mother a long time ago, when I was a little kid, that this is what I was going to do…. and here we are,” said DeGrand.
Originally from Green Bay, DeGrand attended Fox Valley Technical College, earning a degree in Fire Protection Technology. After graduation, he sent letters to departments throughout the state, seeking employment.
“I always told myself that wherever I was hired, I would stay,” he said. “Marshfield was hiring and I came here and went through the process. I still say that Clayton Simenson was the department’s best Chief ever because he was the one that hired me.”
Throughout the years, DeGrand ascended in seniority at the department, attaining paramedic status with the rest of the crew in 1996, and fulfilling the role of Acting Lieutenant several different times. He was also Shift Deputy Chief of the Green Shift, a role in which he served until March of this year, at which time he took over the Fire Prevention duties as a daytime position.
“I’ve enjoyed working with the people here and helping the citizens,” said DeGrand. “I’ve pretty much done everything. I’ve delivered a baby. I’ve helped bring life into the world and tried to keep life from going out of the world.”
“Craig has been here a long time and he is an excellent deputy chief,” said Fire & Rescue Chief Scott Owen. “He’s been a deputy chief for 16+ years, and on shift if we ever had a fire or something, you never had to worry that he didn’t have a plan in place. He always has a plan.”
“His departure will leave a hole in the organization,” Owen added. “He has been such a strong member of the department and there’s going to be a period of time that we will really notice it with him gone.”
Highlights of DeGrand’s career include growing the Emergency Planning Committee, getting Rescue Task Force up and running with help from Marshfield Police Department’s Travis Esser, and facilitating Project Lifesaver.
In his three decades, DeGrand has witnessed a lot of change, especially with technology and how it is incorporated into the vehicles.
After DeGrand’s departure, Pete Fletty will fulfill the role of Deputy Chief. The two will be working together this week to help transition the department.
“Pete will continue to move the department forward,” said Owen. “He’ll pick up where Craig has left off. He has game plans and ideas on what he wants to do. It’s good. Pete’s very excited.”
Fortunately for Marshfield Fire & Rescue, DeGrand, along with wife, Merrie, is planning to stay in Marshfield, and will continue to offer advice and support when needed.
“I wish him the best in his retirement,” said Owen. “I know he’ll stay active. I know he’ll be around. If I ever need to get in touch with him to ask him questions, he’ll be there. We have a great working relationship and he’s a great friend.”
Though looking forward to retirement, DeGrand said he will miss seeing his work family every day.
“It’s a second family,” he said. “You have your weird uncles, your crazy aunts.”
In his newly acquired free time, DeGrand is eager to reconnect with his favorite pastimes.
“I’m gonna get caught up on all the things that have taken a backseat since I went to day shift. I’ll have my free time back to work on my hobbies,” he said.
Along with woodworking and winemaking, DeGrand looks forward to spending some time on the water.
“I’m hoping there’s some fishing in my future,” he said. “I told my friends- I’m going fishing with Steve and Buck, and then Buck and Steve, and then Steve, and so on.”