Dunn's Corners Fire District Appoints Next Fire Chief
By Moderator John Merkel
December 3, 2020

The Dunn’s Corners Fire District Operating Committee is pleased to announce that the Chief Selection Committee has completed its work. Our next Chief will be well known to many inside and outside of the District. He is the currently Acting Chief, Keith Kenyon.

Keith officially joined the Dunn’s Corners Fire Department as a Junior member in 1994, but by that time had gone to dozens of emergency calls with his father, the late Deputy Chief Karl Kenyon. Over the ensuing 26 years Keith managed to serve in every officer position in the Department, one of a very few members ever to have done so. Ultimately Keith served as acting Chief on several occasions for an elapsed time of nearly a year and a half. Thanks to his long and dedicated service to the District and Department Keith brings a wealth of local knowledge to the job: he knows the geography, the community, the Department, and the network of other agencies we count on.

Besides his local experience, Keith was employed by the Town of West Greenwich as a career firefighter and EMT-C for the last 16 years, culminating in his promotion to Captain in 2019. Keith’s fire and medical knowledge is second to none.

Keith served meritoriously in the U.S. Army, having been deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a Combat Support Engineer. During the course of his service, Keith was awarded the Purple Heart and the Army Accommodation Medal with V-device for Valor in Combat.

In addition to Keith’s connection to the District and the Department, his wife, Andi, is also a lifelong resident of the District and is the daughter of the late Deputy Chief Buzzy Haggerty. In fact Buzzy introduced Keith and Andi many years ago in the equipment bay of DCFD Station 1. The Kenyon family (pictured) is a DCFD family through and through.

Keith has committed to the Operating Committee to work with the Department and the District to build on our solid foundation to make our organization even better than it already is. The Operating Committee has every confidence that Chief Kenyon will do that and more. We look forward to great things in the future.

Though it may seem that Keith was the obvious choice for the position, the District was very fortunate to have received applications from fifteen other excellent candidates. Many were from Rhode Islanders, but we also received applications from Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri. These candidates came well-prepared to serve competently as our Chief, so we knew right away that our problem would not be to find one decent Chief, but to determine which excellent candidate would be the best for our District and Department. We are grateful to the candidates who expressed interest in our position and put their faith in the CSC to chose wisely.

I’d like to thank the members of Chief Selection Committee: Ken Martin, Hannah Schilke, Dan Schilke, Matt Thomsen, Bob Delaney, and Rich Thomsen. These individuals devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to the study, reflection, and discussion of the candidates qualifications. I am supremely confident that all seven members of the CSC approached the job seriously and with a laser focus on selecting the Chief that was best for the combined District and Department communities.

I would also like to thank the members of the Dunn’s Corners Fire Department for their patience as we worked through our selection process. Because the Department continued to execute competently throughout, the CSC had the luxury of not having to rush our critical selection process. It’s difficult for any organization when leadership is in flux. That challenge was multiplied by the fact that circumstances resulted in the Department having an Acting Chief for almost 50% of the last three and a half years, further complicated by the recent stress related to the covid-19 epidemic. I can only describe Department members’ efforts in the last few years as heroic. We will be eternally grateful for their dedication and look forward to positive growth going forward.