New fire chief takes over in Dobson

By Keith Strange

August 9, 2013

DOBSON — The town of Dobson has a new fire chief, and he said things are going to be changing for the better in the town.

Following an early-morning meeting earlier this week, the town’s board of commissioners voted to appoint long-time town firefighter and captain, David Jenkins, to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Ricky Draughn, who also serves as the town’s mayor.

Draughn, who has served in the capacity for 23 years, announced in July that he planned to step down on Aug. 1, but would stay on until the vacancy was filled.

He will remain as a member of the town’s volunteer fire department, said Town Manager Josh Smith.

Smith said two members of the department, Jenkins and Stan Newman, had expressed interest in the post and both were highly recommended by Draughn.

“But the board decided in July that we should conduct interviews of prospective candidates, so myself and Commissioner Wayne Atkins put together some interview questions and interviewed the two candidates, and the board ultimately chose David,” he said.

Smith said he has every confidence in Jenkins’ ability to lead the department.

“We’re looking forward to his really taking the reins down at the fire department and doing a tremendous job at improving its morale and efficiency and making things better for the department,” he said. “Even the outgoing chief suggested that it’s time someone new take over the helm of the department, and (Jenkins) has outstanding leadership abilities and people just flock to him. He will lead the department from the front and not ask anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.”

Jenkins has served for 17 years in the volunteer fire department and is a member of the town’s public works department. He has been a captain in the department for six years, and Smith said he is highly qualified to fill Draughn’s seat.

He said he plans to hit the ground running.

“While I don’t want to go into detail on it at this time, there will be some restructuring of personnel in the department,” he said. “We’re currently taking a look at the department and it’s organizational structure to see what needs to be done to make it run more efficiently for the town’s residents.”

In addition, Jenkins said he will be updating the department’s outdated policies and procedures, while focusing on strategies to recruit new firefighters to the 21-member department.

“I’d like to get our numbers back up to around 30 or so, and make the fire department a place they feel comfortable,” he said Wednesday. “Anyone who is interested in joining the department or wants more information about becoming a firefighter can call down to town hall. This is an opportunity to join a brotherhood and make a difference to people’s lives in our community.”

But with all the changes, town residents can rest assured they will be there when needed.

“The department will continue to operate as efficiently as it has in the past, and even more-so, hopefully,” Jenkins said.

Reach Keith Strange at kstrange@civitasmedia.com or 719-1929.