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Riley County Fire District No 1

Posted on: February 1, 2024

Celebrating Dedication and Leadership: Doug Russell – February’s Employee of the Month

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Deputy Fire Chief of Operations Doug Russell has spent most of his life in the tight-knit community of Riley County Fire District #1. His leadership and dedication have made a big impact, and we are excited to honor him as February’s Employee of the Month. 

The anonymous nomination for Doug emphasizes his exceptional leadership and work ethic, noting his willingness to go above and beyond for the people of Riley County. Doug's commitment to hard work reflects his dedication to being a valuable resource for the department and his fellow firefighters.

Doug joined RCFD#1 as a volunteer in 2009 following in the footsteps of his father David, who has been serving the department as a volunteer firefighter for more than 45 years. In 2021, Doug assumed the role of Deputy Chief of Operations, demonstrating his versatility in handling everything from training firefighters to fixing fire trucks. His commitment to hard work, years of experience, and calm demeanor in crisis situations have helped the department excel.

As Deputy Chief, Doug's responsibilities range from administrative tasks to hands-on firefighting and scene management. His advice on effective leadership mirrors his straightforward approach. Doug reminds us "A good leader will listen more than they talk."

His talent for recognizing what people need during emergency situations definitely contributes to his effectiveness as a leader. 

“You have to pay attention and learn who needs a little humor to lighten the mood and who needs space to think. Everyone is different,” Doug explains. 

The recent annual firefighter awards banquet, attended by 160 people, marked a momentous occasion for the department. With a 20% growth last year, this was the most well-attended banquet anyone can remember. The department’s success is due to the collective commitment of individuals like Doug who find excitement and meaning in their work. His wife, Jessica, and two daughters, Rylee and Kylee, are proud of him and proud of the sacrifices he makes for the community.

"All of the firefighters are family to me at this point," Doug shares. “Being in stressful situations together serves to form very strong bonds.”

Outside of his role at Riley County, Doug stays busy by spending time with family, managing a custom haying operation and a mechanic business, and he and Jessica will soon start building a new house on the family farm. 

In recognizing Doug Russell as Employee of the Month, we salute his sacrifice, dedication, and leadership, which have left an indelible mark on our community and the Riley County Fire District #1 family. Congratulations, Doug, on this well-deserved honor!

Doug would like me to remind you that Riley County employees are eligible to join the department as volunteers. Several current employees serve on a fire crew, and he would be happy to talk with you if you’re interested in joining.  

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Riley County Fire District #1
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