Jan. 5, 2016 – St. Lawrence, WI – After 21 years at the helm, St. Lawrence Fire Company (SLFC) Chief Gary Karnitz has stepped down. Karnitz was a mentor and leader who helped guide his department over the last 31 years to better serve the community and those traveling through the St. Lawrence area.
“I knew the time was right to step out,” said Karnitz who took over for Chief Mike Schmidt in 1996. “I have great people behind me and I felt that I want them to experience this too.
“I’m still going to be involved with the department but now it’s going to be fun to watch it grow under someone else,” he said.
Karnitz, 51, signed on with the department when he was 30 years old. “When I first started we were one of the few departments in the county that still rode on the back of the fire trucks,” he said. “It was 1986 and we rode the tailboard on two of the trucks. We were belted in but in winter it was cold.”
Some of these innovations Karnitz helped implement included sharing emergency medical response personnel with Allenton Fire Department and Hartford Fire-Rescue. Another was developing and instituting an “automatic mutual response” with Allenton Fire Department. This helped both departments respond with more people and with shared equipment on all calls.
During an annual meeting this week Captain Jeff Infalt was elected to the position of fire chief for a 3 year term. Infalt has served many years as Captain of the department and is a local businessman with great leadership skills.
Infalt has served as picnic chairman for18 years. He is respected and appreciated by all of the members of the St. Lawrence Fire Company.
Elected as president of the non-profit corporation was Bryon Messig who comes with an extend background in management and leadership roles.
Photos courtesy Ashley Infalt