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New Troup County Fire Chief John Ekatis poses for a photo at the fire station.

New Troup County fire chief wants to be community oriented

Jenna Oden
Times-News

The newly hired Troup County fire chief has spent the last month and a half setting goals and spending time in the community.

Prior to serving Troup County, John Ekatis served as the fire chief for the Sumter County Fire Department for roughly seven years. Ekatis is excited about the opportunities to grow the fire department in Troup County.

During the first few weeks on the job, Ekatis said he’s focused on meeting everyone he can and taking a close look at how the fire department operates.   

“The first goal is to learn the fire department, which is what I am in the process of doing now,” Ekatis said. “That will take at least five to seven months before I become really familiar with the department.”

Ekatis said he wants to work closely with the Troup County Board of Commissioners. He said doing so would enhance the services of Troup County for the residents.

“We also want to do more training for the department to become more community oriented,” Ekatis said.

Ekatis said the fire department will be involved in community event.

“We want to be meeting with people, taking our equipment and showing what we have, going to different groups, being with the community and just sharing our services with them,” Ekatis said. “Our new motto is going to be ‘not perfect, but nothing less than excellence’ for the citizens of Troup County. The citizens own and basically pay for the service … it is the citizens’ fire department.”

Within the department, Ekatis said that there are a multitude of firefighters that contribute different things to the community and fire department.

“We need to be out there sharing what we have,” Ekatis said. “We need to provide whether it is fire services, rescue services, classroom services, reading books to children and whatever else we can do to be a part of the community.”

Recently, the board of commissioners went on a leadership retreat that Ekatis was a part of.

“It was a moment I really got to sit and take notes and listen to other department heads,” Ekatis said. “It gave me a time to truly face the commissioners and share with them the goals and needs of the fire department. That was probably best occurrence so far [since working as the chief].”

Ekatis said he is extremely impressed by Troup County’s leaders and what they are doing to better the community.

“The people truly have commissioners, a county manager and department heads who care about Troup County and the citizens,” Ekatis said. “That was very inspiring to me to know that they are willing to work with all of the departments and try to meet all of the citizen’s needs.”

Troup County residents can expect to see more of Ekatis and other TCFD firefighters in the community more.

“As I continue to venture through the process of the fire department, I will be getting out and more involved in community activities,” Ekatis said. “I look forward to that.”