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Deputy Chief Chuck Beistle to apply for West Bend Fire Chief

West Bend, WI – We’re still awaiting the job posting for West Bend Fire Chief as Gerald Kudek is stepping down in May 2023 after 38 years of service.
It was confirmed today Deputy Chief Chuck Beistle will be throwing his hat in the ring.


Chuck, fire, Beistle
Deputy Chief Chuck Beistle


Beistle has been with the WBFD for 30 years. He’s been Deputy Chief since July 2016.

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It seems a normal progression at the WBFD to promote from within on the Chief’s position.

Kudek was Battalion Chief before taking over when Chief Jim Vest stepped down after 12 years in December 2012. At that time Kudek was one of four candidates to apply for the job; all who applied were from within the department.

Vest came out of Oak Park, Illinois in 2000 after he retired from Oak Park as a battalion chief when he was 53. Vest retired as chief in West Bend at 65.

Kudek is stepping out at 58.

Promoting from within even dates to the 1800’s when Chief George Kuelthau joined the fire department June 2, 1890. He was assistant chief from 1896 to 1914 and was elected fire chief in 1915 when Chief Boden unexpectedly passed away.

Chief George Kuelthau

There was a meeting of the Police and Fire Commission on Tuesday morning, April 4. One of the items was “Discussion and Possible Action regarding Process for Hiring a Fire Chief.”

Beistle is a member of Holy Angels Parish and he is active in the community.

This is a working story and more information will be posted when details become available.

On a history note: How many previous fire chiefs can you name for the West Bend FD?

Let’s get you started: Vest, Ray Roskopf, Brian Mayer, Bill Oelhafen…


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