Delavan Fire Department:
News - Hail to Fire Chief Flood
HAIL TO FIRE CHIEF FLOODDelavan is extremely fortunate to have the services of Neill Flood as its fire chief. He joined the volunteer Delavan Fire Department as a recruit in 1957, was elected assistant chief at age 25 in 1963 and 20 years later was appointed Delavan fire chief. A highly respected leader, he is held in high esteem by fire department personnel, city officials and citizenry at large.
During his 45-year DFD career, he’s responded to 3,875 fire calls. The most difficult and exhausting was the 1978 Colonial Hotel fire which threatened the entire downtown business district. Once while fighting a residential fire on South Fourth Street, he fell through the second story ceiling and ended up straddling a floor joist. In his earlier years before the department obtained self-contained breathing units, he was treated several times for smoke inhalation. His saddest memory is discovering a small child in an upstairs closet who died of smoke inhalation during a residential fire.
The Flood family has served on DFD for over three generations. Neill’s father, George, was a member from 1938 until his 1961 death. Neill’s son, Patrick, joined the department in 1980 and currently is a lieutenant. Niell’s wife, Nancy, rates recognition along with the wives of all DFD members for helping their husbands respond to fire calls and sharing the apprehension over their safety.
Neill was born 64 years, ago, the youngest of four children in the George and Adelaide O’Neill Flood family. He attended St. Andrew’s Grade School from kindergarten through 1953 graduation. At Delavan High School, he lettered in football, basketball and track, sang in the chorus, participated in forensics and served on the student council. Following 1956 DHS graduation, he served for a period in the U.S. Army Reserve program, then became associated with the Doyon-Rayne Lumber Company which was established in Delavan by his uncle Frank E. Flood in 1918. Neill’s father and uncle later became affiliated with the firm.
Neill had already started his Doyon-Rayne career when he was approved as a recruit fireman in 1957 and over a four-year period served on the department with his father. Some of the fires he responded to during the first few years of his career were: the Delavan Tire Store on East Wisconsin Street in 1959; the Wisconsin School for the Deaf print shop in 1962 and the National Tea Store in 1963.
Neill made such noteworthy progress with the department that he was elected assistant chief in 1963, under Brad Liddle. When Liddle retired in December of 1982 after a 48-year career, Neill was appointed acting fire chief and a month later was confirmed as chief.
During his years as chief, DFD has acquired considerable amount of new equipment and its record files computerized. Humble about his own role in the department, he credits the 38 volunteers and assistant chief, Timothy O’Neill, who has been instrumental in conducting on-going training program. He’s also appreciative to the donations from the Borg Foundation and Delavan business and industrial firms.
Neill was associated with Doyon-Rayne until its 1988 sale to Home Lumber Company. He stayed on as manager for two years before accepting a sales position with Dunn Lumber and True Value Hardware of Lake Geneva. His present position is inside-outside contractor and consumer salesman.
In addition to his role as fire chief and Dunn sales representative, Neill is a life-long member of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and has served as trustee, parish council president, chairman of the maintenance committee, chairman of the festival committee and currently a member of the finance committee. His wife Nancy is the administrative assistant of St. Andrew’s School where she has served for 23 years.
Neill and Nancy were married in 1959. They have four children; Patrick (Kristi), manager of the Dunn Lumber Company; Kevin (Lori), loan officer at a Waukesha bank; Michael, manager of a manufacturing plant in Naperville, Ill., and Susan, a kindergarten teacher in Genoa City.
The home at 817 Racine St. has been occupied by members of the Flood family since 1941. Neill and Nancy purchased the residence in 1961. The residence is well-known for its Santa Claus seated on the porch during the Christmas season. An article on Neill would not be complete without mention of his ardent backing of the Green Bay Packers.
Delavan is indeed fortunate to have Neill Flood at the helm of the fire department as it completes its 125th year.
Article courtesy of the Delavan Enterprise
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