My name is Joey Vest and I am the Fire Chief at Walton Fire Protection District. I would like to first thank you for taking the time to visit our website. I truly hope that you find the available information throughout the entire website beneficial and educational in some way. I’d like to take a moment and let you some things about me and my journey over the years involving Walton Fire District.
Walton was my hometown and where I grew up as a young child. I attended and graduated from Walton Verona School. In 1987, at the age of 16 years, I did not realize how my entire life would change when my history with Walton Fire District began. That is when I joined the Walton Fire Protection District as a Recruit Volunteer Firefighter. I had absolutely no knowledge or experience in the fire service at all. When I joined, under the guidance of Chief Donald McIntyre, I began to train and learn about structural firefighting in its entirety. Also, and most importantly, I began to also learn about being a public servant to the citizens and eventually became an integral part of the fire service and community. In 1988 I attended, and successfully completed, a specialized KY State Certification Training Program to become an Emergency Medical Technician. This certification enabled me to begin providing Emergency Medical Services in addition to firefighting which I had realized by then, was something that I had true passion for.
Upon completion of obtaining my State EMT certification, I continued to provide emergency services for the community until 1991. During that year I relocated from Walton, and since Walton Fire Protection District was a 100% volunteer organization, I also had to resign from my position as a Firefighter/EMT with the District. Immediately upon leaving the department, I found myself missing the fire service and all that it involved each and every day. In early 1998, I learned that the operations within the department had progressed and significant changes were occurring. I met with Chief McIntyre and applied to become a Volunteer Firefighter with the Walton Fire Protection District again. This was made possible because the fire department had begun hiring Full Time Personnel, and volunteers could also stay overnight at the fire station while on duty with the paid personnel, not requiring a response from home when emergencies occurred.
Upon renewing my position with volunteering as a firefighter for Walton Fire District, I again attended training for firefighting and successfully completed training for Emergency Medical Technician, and also become Career Certified as a Firefighter with the State of Ky. I was then certified both Nationally, and in the State of Kentucky, as an EMT in addition to obtaining my career firefighter certification in the State as well. In November 1998, I was offered a Full Time Firefighter/EMT position with the Walton Fire Protection District, which I eagerly accepted. I continued with my training as a Firefighter and EMT throughout the future years. I received a promotion to Sergeant and later promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. In the fall of 2004, I began attending University of Cincinnati College and obtained my National Certification for Paramedic. At that time, Walton Fire Protection District did not have in-house paramedic services, but the successful completion of this training, again had a significant impact on my career future still.
In January 2006, Chief Donald McIntyre retired from Walton Fire Protection District after his many years of dedicated service which he had provided to the community. His successor was Chief Thomas E. Ollier. I continued to learn and train under the guidance of Chief Ollier, as I pursued my career goals with Walton. Chief Ollier tasked me with the responsibility of making a reality, his vision of providing Advance Life Support Services to the citizens of Walton by creating a program which included in-house paramedic services. The program was presented to, approved by the Board of Trustees at that time, and the creation of the program began. The program’s initial creation was completed with State approval in November 2006. Walton Fire Protection District, for the first time ever in history, provided Emergency Medical Services which included having a Paramedic responding on the ambulance upon dispatch. The program has been continually added to and improved on, as it has been a continued benefit to the citizens who we serve.
During Chief Ollier’s career in with the Walton Fire District, I was promoted to the position of Captain. In March 2007, I was fortunate enough to have been accepted and permitted to attend the National Fire Academy, which is located within Emmitsburg Maryland. I attended the academy for two consecutive weeks and was the recipient of intense officers training which involved various learning experiences and challenges. The result of the training has without a doubt impacted my career in positive ways ever since that I could not have imagined at the time. In 2009, I was promoted to the position of Assistant Chief. As the Assistant Chief, with Chief Ollier’s continued guidance from his many years of experience as an Administrator and Officer within the fire service, I learned the Administrative duties which involves the fire service. I continued my service as Assistant Chief and focused a lot of my responsibilities toward the in-house paramedic program, which continued to advance and grow.
Medical Protocols were created and changed to allow the Paramedics and EMTs to provide improved and more advanced emergency care to our citizens. Daily operations at the Walton Fire Protection District continued to progress overall, and services provided to the businesses and residents continued to improve and expand. In December 2018, Chief Thomas E. Ollier retired from the Walton Fire Protection District, and I officially succeeded him as the new Chief.
Since being in the Chief’s position, we as a department have continued to strive and improve our services that we provide to our citizens. I promise you that we will continue with every effort to ensure that you, as a resident or business owner, can be proud of the emergency services provided to all who live, work, or visit within our district. Rest assured that we will continue to serve you in every way possible as a fire department and emergency medical services agency.
It is truly with honor and pride to have the privilege to serve as your Fire Department Chief.
Chief Joey Vest