New fire district head likes appeal of new home

Joe Clow had two things in mind when he went looking for a new challenge.

Enumclaw’s recently-hired fire chief was looking for a department that fit with his professional background, namely a system that took advantage of both professional and volunteer firefighters. Also, he wanted a location that offered the best of both worlds – a small-town environment within striking distance of a metropolitan center that offers big-city amenities.

It required packing up and moving half-way across the county, but Clow found both in Enumclaw.

But moving is nothing new for the 51-year-old fire chief and his family.

Prior to accepting the job as head of the combined Enumclaw/Fire District 28 operation, Clow spent eight years as chief of the fire department in Fond du Lac, Wis. From 1997 to 2001 he was chief of the department in Bedford, N.H. He had started his career in Iowa, moving through the ranks from firefighter to lieutenant during 18 years; fully vested in the Iowa system, he had formally retired before taking the New Hampshire post.

A philosophical disagreement led to his resignation from the Fond du Lac department, Clow said, and prompted he and his wife Sue to do some soul searching.

“We evaluated what would come next career-wise and family-wise,” he said. “We took a long time to do that, on purpose.”

The Enumclaw area fit the family lifestyle.

“We were specifically looking for a smaller community,” Clow said, and the natural beauty of the nearby mountains was a draw. But so was the relatively short jaunt to Seattle and its big-city attractions.

The Clow family includes a 14-year-old son. A 21-year-old daughter is attending college and remained in Wisconsin.

Since taking the helm Aug. 3, Clow hasn’t been disappointed.

“I’m very impressed with the quality and competence of both the professionals and volunteers” staffing the department, he said.

There really haven’t been any surprises, either.

“The people here in Enumclaw did a good job of preparing me,” he said, noting that firefighting issues remain largely the same everywhere.

To comment on this story view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

More in News

Taxing district was independent, now part of city government

In a move that was philosophically opposed by a pair of council members, the city of Enumclaw has taken control of the local Transportation Benefit District. The move may not be noticeable to the general public, as the collection and distribution of money should be unchanged. Also, the people controlling the dollars and cents remain the same.

Wilbanks wins close Buckley race

It took a month, but Luke Wilbanks finally knows he’ll be occupying a seat on the Buckley City Council.

Smooth holiday travel requires planning, patience | Department of Transportation

No matter what your holiday plans, being prepared for winter conditions and holiday traffic will help make your trip smoother. The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all travelers to “know before you go” and plan ahead for smoother travel.

Pierce County burn ban lifted | Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Update

The weather may be getting colder, but burn bans have been called for multiple counties due to deteriorating air quality.

Local authors publish their first novels

Sometimes, you just can’t get an idea out of your head. For two local authors, this certainly has been the case. Since they were kids, James Peet of Enumclaw and Tommy Rice of Bonney Lake had some ideas in their heads, ones that never quite left them, even as they grew older, got jobs, and settled down with their wives and kids of their own.

Scammers posing as the State Supreme Court Clerk | Office of the Attorney General

Scammers are posing as the Washington State Supreme Court Clerk to call Washingtonians to demand money and threaten arrest. The fraudulent calls have so far targeted individuals with Hispanic last names.

Enumclaw’s Van Hulse to compete in national music showcase

Erik Van Hulse, who also goes by his stage name Siboh Nisoh, has been working toward this big break for almost as long as he can remember.

Kiwanis honor four as Students of the Month

Members of the Buckley Kiwanis Club honored a trio of “Students of the Month” during an Nov. 16 gathering.

Pepper addresses ‘false’ recall charges in community meeting

The meeting, held at the Black Diamond library, was a chance for voters to have “an opportunity to hear from both sides before they decide to sign,” the recall petition, Pepper wrote in an announcement for the meeting.

Most Read