Volunteer Spotlight: Barry Kuenkel


Name:  Barry Kuenkel
Title:  Fire Chief
Department Name: Cumberland Fire District
Location:  Cumberland, WI

What is your career?
I worked at the local municipal electric generating plant for 25 years before I retired maintaining and operating 9 large diesel generating units.

How long have you been an NVFC member?
9 years

Why are you an NVFC member?
I began by being a state association member when I was elected to the board of directors of the Wisconsin state firefighters association. I have since convinced our department to enroll all of our members, which we have done for the past 3 years. I believe the benefits of membership outweigh the costs, and it gives me a certain peace of mind knowing that our members have all of NVFC’s resources available to them, to either expand their knowledge or for help if they need it.

Why are you a volunteer firefighter?  
I have treasured every minute of being a volunteer firefighter, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment and personal worth.

How long have you been in the fire service?  
34 years

What are your memorable moments as a firefighter or EMS provider?  
The expressions of gratitude from victims of incidents are what strikes me the most. Especially if the outcome is less then what would be desired, people still thank us.

Also the support our community gives to our fire department is very humbling. I just feel so overwhelmed when I see the numbers of people supporting our fundraisers, and how generous they are.

What contributions have you (and your department) made in your community?

  • Improved ISO rating
  • Have instituted a comprehensive fire prevention program which includes installing smoke and CO detectors for families who need them
  • Have installed dry hydrants in rural areas
  • Volunteer hundreds of man hours for various other community events


* Interested in serving your community? Find volunteer fire service opportunities at www.MakeMeAFirefighter.org