Aanstad named new fire chief in Iola
By Holly Neumann
Jim Aanstad, who has been a member of the Iola & Rural Fire Department for the past 31 years, will now fill the position as chief of the department.
The position was vacated by Chuck Fritz earlier this year.
“Chief Fritz has built a very solid foundation for this department and has accomplished a lot in the past 29 years,” said Aanstad. “As we move forward I plan on continuing to build off that foundation and strive for continuous improvement for our department.”
Aanstad previously served as assistant chief/ambulance and as a training officer.
“With 31 years of experience, I know how we should be operating,” he said. “I truly care about our department and each and every one of our firefighters and EMTs.”
He added that he cares about the safety and wellbeing of the community as well.
“I feel it is going to be a very challenging position,” he said. “I am excited about making a positive influence on both the department and the community.”
Aanstad went on to thank all of the local firefighters and EMTs for the commitment they make to the Iola fire and ambulance services.
“I feel my biggest challenge in front of me is recruiting new members and retaining the members we have,” he said. “It’s tough to find people that want to commit the time to being a firefighter or EMT. We are always looking for good people.”
He noted that he wants to continue to build the department stronger than what it is and to give the community the best possible service.
Anyone wishing to volunteer may call Aanstad at 715-445-2515.