Capt. Chris Stegman of the City of Hays Fire Department is retiring after 28 years of service to the people of Hays and Ellis County. A retirement reception to honor Stegman will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday in the City Commission meeting room in City Hall, 1507 Main. The public is invited to attend.

In 1990, Stegman started as a volunteer firefighter with the Ellis County Fire Department at the Hays rural fire company station. On May 28, 1998, he was appointed as a career firefighter with the City of Hays Fire Department. He advanced through the ranks until he was promoted to captain in command of the HFD A-shift on Jan. 2, 2005.

Stegman was one of the first Hays firefighters trained as a fire investigator and hazardous materials technician. He also is nationally certified as a fire inspector, fire instructor and basic and advanced fire officer. Stegman graduated from the University of Kansas Certified Public Manager program and he completed a management course of study at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg. Md.

During his service with the HFD, Stegman took extra training to become an expert in hazardous materials safety codes. In addition to his other duties, he worked with the businesses in our community to help make sure hazardous materials storage and use met current safety standards.

From 1988 to 1996 Stegman served with the US Army Reserve. He was activated during Operation Desert Storm and served with the 44th Evacuation Hospital in Saudi Arabia.

“Capt. Stegman has been an important member of the City of Hays Fire Department. Over the years he has contributed a great deal to help us advance as a professional organization. He truly cares about the people of Hays and the members of the fire department. While he may be retiring he will always be a part of the City of Hays Fire Department,” said HFD Chief Gary Brown.