As we began reporting on Friday, Newberry Fire Department Chief Keith Minick was recently sworn in as President of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association. The transfer of command ceremony was held at the Newberry Firehouse Conference Center on January 2, 2020.
Minick took the place of former President, Charlie King that was recently named Executive Director of the association. While each president serves a one-year term, due to King’s recent move, Minick will serve a term of one and a half years.
Prior to his oath of office, Minick was presented with the president’s helmet by King in symbolism of the association’s command structure and official transfer of command. The helmet travels with the sitting president and gets transferred from year to year to the next president.
Minick was also presented with the president’s pin, as each of the officers of the association have their own.
As he often says, Minick said he feels it’s important to get outside of your “box,” or outside of your normal routine.
“This is a challenge, something I will accept and be responsible for, of serving over 17,000 firefighters in this state,” he said. “We want to make sure that we’re looking out for our firefighters so that we can better serve our community.”
The president of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association is responsible for overseeing meetings and committees set up through the association as well as working with the executive director to ensure they are meeting the mission and goals of the association for their members.
As the president, Minick said he wants to continue to build a strong voice for the fire service. Being involved in many areas to include training, education, recruitment and retention, legislative issues and fire and life safety concerns, Minick said he plans to continue to build partnerships with other organizations to help keep the state’s firefighters engaged to better serve their communities.
Minick is the 74th president of the association and the fifth to come from the Newberry Fire Department. Newberry has had more presidents of the association than to come from any other department in the state. Minick’s brother, Kyle, he said was the 71st president and served as a volunteer firefighter for the City of Newberry from 1996-1999.
“The City of Newberry has had a long-standing history of involvement on the state level in different capacities,” Minick said.
Being a part of an organization such as the City of Newberry that continues to be involved outside of the local level, Minick said was exciting.
“I believe this keeps our department strong and allows our team to grow to provide a better service to our community,” he said.
City Manager Matt DeWitt said he believes it speaks volumes to the professionalism found within the city’s fire department to have the most association presidents in the organization’s history.
“We are proud that Chief Minick will have the honor and privilege of guiding the State Firefighters’ Association over the next year,” DeWitt said. “We are sure he will positively advance the profession here locally and at the state level during his tenure.