City Fire Chief Cullers set for February exit
Posted: January 26, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Announcing his retirement Friday, city Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Cullers said he always wanted to finish his career where it started.
“My whole life, ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been a firefighter,” Cullers, 59, said in a phone interview.
His last day with the department will be Feb. 23, according to a City of Winchester media release.
The release states that an announcement concerning the appointment of an interim chief will be made within two weeks.
Cullers was hired in July 2010 after Chief Frank Wright retired from the department.
Asked why he was retiring, Cullers said “it was time .... You want to go out when you’re on top.”
He began his career in Winchester as a volunteer firefighter after graduating from high school in 1972. Two years later, he joined the fire department in Fairfax County, where he retired in 2002.
Soon afterward, he became the battalion chief in Loudoun County before retiring again in 2008 as deputy chief of operations.
“Scott has made a tremendous impact during his tenure in Winchester,” said City Manager Dale Iman. “And although we are sorry to see him go, we wish him all the best during his retirement.”
Cullers said he has no immediate plans for his retirement, but eventually wants to teach at the National Fire Academy and continue his volunteer work in the community.
He said “it has been an absolute joy” to be a part of the city government. “You couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people.”
The media release states that during his time as chief, Cullers expanded the department’s vision and made operating practices more regional; educated thousands each year about fire safety, including elementary school students; obtained a smoke detector grant in 2011, allowing the department to install 300 detectors in local single-family homes; and improved relationships with the City Council and the local news media.
Cullers also began efforts to increase diversity within the department, reorganized the rank structure, expanded regional cooperation with area partners and increased customer service ratings.
“None of these accomplishments could have been done without the collaboration between all career and volunteer staff,” he said. “I’m very honored to have had the opportunity to play a small part in it all.”
Cullers added that his favorite memory of the job will be the acceptance by career firefighters and medical technicians of the changes he brought.
“They gave me a chance,” he said.
— Contact Melissa Boughton at firstname.lastname@example.org