Eyler takes the lead at fire company
by Lisa Tome
Among Bill Eyler's first duties just days before he was sworn in as President of the Community Fire Company of Rising was to take a complaint from a youngster who attended the company-sponsored "Frozen"-themed breakfast.
"At the breakfast she complained that there was no strawberry milk. It was so cute," laughed Eyler, who is now considering adding the coveted beverage to the company breakfast menus.
Eyler, who joined the local fire company in 1996, after being part of both Susquehanna Hose Company and Joppa Magnolia Fire Company, took the oath of office January 15, a week later than expected due to weather. He brings a host of experience in the fire service to the role. During his time at CFCRS, he has served as EMS Chief and Captain, board member, and Quality Assurance officer for Emergency Medical Services. He's also been a top responder several times and was named EMS Person of the Year for the company.
Eyler, 62, can't remember when he wasn't involved in the fire service.
"My brother was a volunteer and everybody around us was too. It was the culture to ride EMS. My parents were both nurses. The last time I ever saw my dad, he was taken away by ambulance," said Eyler.
Eyler brings vast experience to the role of volunteer president. He served in the U.S. Army from 1975-78. Among his jobs was Army medic. After the military, he wanted to be a career firemen. Instead, he began working for Maryland State Corrections and retired as a major. He also inspected jails and was part of the state's Special Operations Team.
Currently, he is a paramedic supervisor for the Harford County Paramedic Foundation, a job he has held for a decade. He balances that with his volunteering. "Being a paramedic and EMS has been my first love," he said.
After focusing on EMS for years, Eyler decided to expand his role in the local fire company. "It's one thing to sit and say what needs to be changed. If you're not willing to take a role in the change, what are you?," he said.
His top priority is building community and recruiting volunteers. "The building itself (Station 8, Biggs Highway) needs updated and maintenance. I have concerns about that. The bunks and furniture need to be updated. We need to be looking more to the future," he said. "This station needs to be comfortable and welcoming. The volunteers need to feel appreciated and welcome. The volunteers (at fire companies) are hurting everywhere."
Eyler explained that families have two working parents and children now. "Training has escalated to numerous hours. Now it takes 120 hours (of training) to become an EMT. I'm hoping to get accessible training here and I want vehicles to get people to training. I want a training vehicle in the future," he said.
Eyler said he's both nervous and excited about leading the company. "I'm hoping to be a success. I want to be someone who looks to the future and advocates for the members," he said.
The fire company has now taken its hall back from the former caterer and will host more fire company events. "We want to welcome the community more and get them more involved since it's the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun," Eyler said. He also said the company has upcoming children's events planned such as Paw Patrol, Star Wars, and Superheroes breakfasts.
"We're no longer tied to a caterer. That gives us more options for the fire company to have more fire company functions. The community can rent the hall and have the caterer of their choice," said Eyler.
Eyler's wife, Lynne, a retired Cecil County Paramedic, is also a member of the fire company.
The couple often respond together to calls.
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