October 26, 2016
For immediate release
Retirement reception set for Fire/EMS Chief Rusty Baker
The public is invited to a drop-in retirement reception honoring Independence Fire/EMS Chief Rusty Baker on Monday, October 31, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the 2nd floor lobby of Temporary City Hall, 811 W. Laurel.
Baker’s retirement will be effective November 1, after 25 years with the Independence Fire/EMS Department, the past eight years serving as chief.
“Retirement was a really hard decision for me,” Baker said. “I get so attached to people, especially the people I work with. I love my staff and the work we do. Becoming a firefighter 25 years ago was the best job move I ever made.”
After retirement, Baker plans to put more focus into his personal business, training hunting dogs on his rural Independence property.
Baker’s beloved 9-year-old Labrador, Remington, who joined the fire crew in 2009 and has since become a community icon, will join him in retirement. However, Baker said, both plan to stay engaged with the department and its community outreach activities, such as parade appearances, fund-raisers and fire education in the schools.
“I didn’t know anything about community service when I came to work here,” Baker said. “The fact that we’re out doing good for the community, that has been the biggest reward. I don’t want it to just end.”
Independence City Manager Micky Webb commended Baker for his years of admirable service and leadership of the department.
“Rusty will be a hard act to follow,” Webb said. “Thanks to his dedication and leadership, our fire service has evolved into an exemplary department with high-caliber, well-trained staff providing excellent fire response. Rusty should be very proud of his accomplishments. I certainly am.”