Crown Point’s new fire chief, Mark Baumgardner Jr., said he plans to lead the fire department using a maxim his father taught him.
“I plan to tread lightly and carry a big stick,” Baumgardner said, quoting Teddy Roosevelt.
He said former fire chief Dave Crane had his own style and Baumgardner planned to have his own way of directing.
“I want to be the leader who speaks softly and is for the team,” he said.
Last week, Baumgardner was sworn in by outgoing Crown Point Mayor David Uran. His nomination was first announced two weeks ago at the inaugural Crown Point Fire Rescue Awards Banquet.
“Mark has been leading the department since the late Fire Chief Dave Crane began having health issues about a year ago,” Uran said in a press release. “His leadership has proven invaluable and I am confident he will continue to steer our department in the right direction.”
Baumgardner said he was proudest of his time as a U.S. Air Force veteran, serving from 2002 to 2006.
“The best officers weren’t always the loudest,” he said. “I learned a lot there.”
Baumgardner was previously a dispatcher with the Crown Point Police Department and the Four Seasons Lakes Fire Department.
Baumgardner said he takes after his father, Mark A. Baumgardner, Sr., who led by example and recently passed away.
His father had 34 years of service in the City of Crown Point as a firefighter/paramedic and was one of the original seven paramedics hired for the City of Crown Point’s EMS service. He was a long-time EMS instructor/educator for Franciscan Crown Point, Baumgardner added.
It was his father’s influence that led him to start as a volunteer firefighter with Crown Point Fire Rescue in 2002. He was hired as a full-time firefighter/paramedic in May 2008. Baumgardner was appointed deputy fire chief in August 2019.
He succeeds Crane, who passed away last month.
In recounting his experience of fire, he said the little things came to the fore.
“It’s not the big fires, it’s when you help someone and make a difference,” he said.
Jane Bokun is a freelance journalist for the Post-Tribune.