by Lisa Tome
When Donald Wehry was sworn in as chief of the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun recently, he made history.
Wehry was, as far as anyone can remember, the first ever chief appointed to the post.
Typically, the chief is elected by company members in December and then takes office the first Monday after the new year.
Fire company members will not discuss why former chief Matt Blakeley, who announced in November that he would return to the post for another year, is no longer in the position. Sources said that Blakeley's name was removed from the ballot. Wehry said that when no one runs for chief of the company, the bylaws dictate that a chief be appointed.
Wehry was nominated by fire company president Walter Funk. His appointment was confirmed by the board of directors. "He met the qualifications. I have no doubt he will do a good job," said Funk.
Wehry has been a member of the fire company since 1978. He has held many positions including lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, deputy chief, board of director, EMS captain, and liaison officer. He has been a fire officer for at least 15 years. "I have never been chief. But part of being deputy is filling in in place of the chief," said Wehry.
Wehry said he doesn't plan to make any big changes. "I'll just do the best I can in the position. I can't do it without the members of the fire company and their support," said Wehry. "I'm looking forward to a good year."
When he is not volunteering in the community, Chief Wehry works as a paid firefighter. He has been employed as a federal firefighter at Aberdeen Proving Ground since 1987.