RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The COVID-19 pandemic has created a major financial impact on organizations across the nation. That’s why four men at the Rapid City Fire Department are protecting their department and community in a different kind of way, by retiring.
Four members of the Rapid City Fire Department, each of them serving over 20 years, are retiring their badges including: Captain Joe Tjaden, Training Section Chief Matt Culberson, Battalion Chief Tim Daly and Fire Chief Rod Seals.
“It’s a weird feeling; it’s an emotional feeling. The focus prior to this was everything you’re not going to miss and now the focus, the last month, is everything you’re going to miss,” Seals said.
While it was a tough decision, it was in the best interest that these men retired.
“I think we all are aware of the budget crunches that the city is facing and shortages of the unknown and it seemed like the right thing to do at this time,” Daly said.
Their retirement is actually helping the department save money and potentially prevent laying off other members of the department.
“Our focus is to get our operations division at full staff, hopefully by the end of the year, and this just makes it a little bit easier to be able to afford to do that,” Seals said.
Seals says he has some “big” plans after retiring.
“I’m going to just say, I better get all those home projects done that I’ve been promising my wife over the last 20 years,” Seals said.
“It’s great company to be with on retirement day, it really is. I’m happy, but sad,” Daly said.
Both Daly and Seals say they are confident in the members of the Rapid City Fire Department taking over after their retirement.