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Former Chief George "Rusty" Krause honored

RUSTY KRAUSE AND BARNSTEAD FIRE RESCUE members pose in front of the department sign after the awards ceremony. Weston Sager. (click for larger version)
September 22, 2010
BARNSTEAD — After 41 years of firefighting, George "Rusty" Krause of Barnstead can finally call it a day.

The 15-year fire chief of Barnstead Fire Rescue and 41-year part-time firefighting veteran was given a string of awards from coworkers and public servants in a well-attended ceremony at the Barnstead Parade Fire Station Sunday afternoon.

Chairman of the Barnstead Selectmen Jim Barnard presented a certificate from Gov. John Lynch that commended Krause' service to the Barnstead Fire Department and complimented his "exceptional" grant-writing skills.

Barnard himself praised Krause for his "tenacity" in lobbying for the fire department, saying the town's emergency services would not be where they are without his help.

Doug Aiken, chief of Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid (LRMFA), presented another award for Krause for his years of service on the LRMFA executive board.

Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Mulcahy gave Krause a plaque bearing a fire chief's official badge and poked fun at his former boss's penchant for long-windedness.

Following Mulcahy was Bill Degnan, the N.H. State Fire Marshall, who presented Krause with an old-style fire bucket and a certificate for his "dedicated fire service."

"You (Krause) served all of the State of NH," said Degnan.

After receiving his many awards, Krause gave a heartfelt speech for the 50 or so family, friends and coworkers in the audience.

"We've had some great times together," he said. "It was the most fun job anyone could have."

Krause acknowledged that while his work at the fire department was most often enjoyable, it was also challenging at times.

"We've had our ups and downs," he said. "But this town has got one of the best fire departments anywhere."

"It's about neighbor helping neighbor," he said.

Now Krause can concentrate on his full-time job at Globe Manufacturing and spending more time with his wife Roxanne and his daughter Danielle, he said.

Krause began his long history of service at age 18 when his volunteered to be a part-time firefighter at the Center Barnstead Fire Department.

"It seemed like the place for me to go," he said.

After serving for five years, he switched over to the Barnstead Fire Company in Barnstead Parade. He remained there until it merged with Center Barnstead Fire in 1995 to form Barnstead Fire Rescue. Then Krause was selected to be the first part-time fire chief of the new department, serving in this capacity until June 14, 2010 when current Barnstead Fire Chief Mark Tetreault took over as Barnstead's first full-time department head.

Krause has filled almost every conceivable position from firefighter to ambulance driver to chief during his four decades of service.

"Over the years, I've done everything," he said jokingly.

Krause reflected on the most memorable occurrences with the department.

He singled out a tornado that ripped eight miles through Barnstead in 2007 as the toughest challenge he faced with Barnstead emergency services.

"It cut the town right in half," he said. "There was something like 150 homes impacted."

But the hardest thing, he said, was coping with the loss of a fellow firefighter due to unforeseen health issues.

Since then, Krause has pushed for greater firefighter health and wellness programs.

Krause said he has witnessed how firefighting technology and techniques have become increasingly advanced.

Now, he says, there is "fire prevention at all levels," from better house construction practices to better firefighting gear and techniques.

When asked to sum up the fire department in one phrase, Krause said "adaptable to change."

Hopefully the fire department and the town will be able to adapt once more as they say goodbye to one of the most dedicated town servants Barnstead has ever known.

Weston Sager can be reached at 569-3126 or wsager@salmonpress.com

Martin Lord Osman
Brewster Academy
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