Troxel Retires, Rymer Accepts Chief Job

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It’s official: After 40 years, Chief Robert Troxel will leave his position as head of the Athens Fire Department as of this Saturday.

Troxel gave the official word to the city, according to Service Safety Director Paula Horan Moseley.

Moseley also confirmed that current Lt. Robert Rymer will take the top spot on Sunday.

“He’s going to be missed, he’s put in a lot of years and those were not easy years,” Moseley said. “He’s embraced and adopted best practices…and has been a wonderful person to have as part of the city (administration).”

Troxel, 65, is an Athens resident who served as an electrician at the Athens Mental Health Center before becoming a firefighter.

He earned degrees in Fire Science, Fire Engineering and Environmental Studies from Hocking College, the University of Cincinnati and Ohio University respectively.

He is also a Hocking College trustee.

“It’s been a really rewarding experience,” Troxel said in January when he announced he would retire. “It’s rare that you get a position where you are able to shake hands with presidents, vice-presidents … people from national and international places.”

As Troxel moves out, a new chief will be brought on who plans to continue the development of the department that Troxel led.

“We’re going to continue on basically with what we have … keeping the department equipped right now,” Rymer told The Messenger on Tuesday.

Rymer has more than 20 years of experience as a firefighter and has education in fire engineering and organizational management, which Moseley said will be to the city’s advantage with him as a department head.

The new chief said he plans to follow in the footsteps of Troxel in including his fellow firefighters in the decision-making process.

“They’ll make many decisions,” Rymer said. “The officers are well-trained and a lot of decisions are going to be made from them, of what they want and what we can do with (the budget) we have.”

Rymer’s first year will be a “transition year,” he said, as he fills the lieutenant position he will vacate and possibly fills a firefighter position should one of the current employees be promoted.

Troxel, meanwhile, will be hunting, fishing, and spending time on his 30-foot boat on Lake Erie, he said.

A farewell party will be held for Troxel on Friday from 2-4 p.m. at the Athens City Hall. The party, and an awards ceremony, will be held in the third-floor City Council Chambers.