Privett, Dilbeck appointed as new Butterfield fire heads
District to hold annual chili supper Feb. 24
The Butterfield Fire Protection District now has a new fire chief and assistant chief to help keep the community safe.
On Jan. 8, the district’s board appointed Donald Privett, former assistant fire chief, to the position of chief, and Rusty Dilbeck, to assistant chief.
Both have been firefighters for nearly 20 years.
“I’ve always been a firefighter for Butterfield, and joined in 1999,” said Privett, who, as a youth, grew up living across from a fire station, which influenced him to become a firefighter.
Privett works as a police officer for the city of Cassville, and Dilbeck works for Barry County 911 services.
According to Privett, the appointments were made when Fire Chief Tommy Ray resigned.
“He retired to devote more time to his family,” Privett said. “I was promoted to acting chief in September 2017, and appointed to chief [on Jan. 8]. Previous to that, I was assistant chief for four years, and deputy chief for 10 years.
“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to become chief, and now, here we are, and I’m looking forward to it. But Rusty will be assistant chief so it’s not a one-man team but a team effort.”
His first goal for the district is keeping its 22 firefighters and first responders on staff safe as they carry out their duties.
His second is to focus on training, and his third is to update the district’s extrication equipment, which he and Dilbeck plan to apply for a federal grant to acquire.
“We’ll hopefully obtain a set with the grant,” he said. The application deadline is Feb. 2.
As chief, Privett also plans to try to get a lower ISO rating, which will help lower insurance rates. And, lastly, Privett would like to increase community events.
“We have awesome community involvement with fundraisers,” he said. “And I’d like to see, as a department and the auxiliary, more events here — like a public safety event at the fire station, in the park or city hall.”
Dilbeck has been a firefighter for 17 years, helping keep the Cassville community safe for eight years, then serving the Butterfield community for nine.
“That’s always been my goal, to help people,” Dilbeck said. “I’m also a 911 dispatcher for Barry County Emergency Services. I’ve done that for five years.”
Dilbeck said that at one point, he stepped away from public service for awhile to do something different, but missed it and jumped back in.
“I really enjoy helping the public,” he said. “It’s just something that makes me happy. It takes certain people to be able to do this job, [firefighters, EMS, police officers and 911 dispatchers]. You’ve got to love your job, because you don’t get Christmas off with your family — you work holidays.”
He started his firefighting career in 2000.
“I had a friend in it at Cassville, and he talked me into joining,” he said. “I really enjoyed it, and the guys. It’s a family-oriented atmosphere. In 2004, I furthered my education and became firefighter 1 and 2 certified. I moved to Butterfield in 2012. I took a little time off from fire service between Cassville and Butterfield.”
Dilbeck said the district, which covers a wide area, receives about 140 calls a year on average.
“That’s quite a few for a small department,” he said. “I think about 80 of those are medical, and the rest are fire calls. We don’t get a whole lot of fire calls and we mutual aid them with other departments when needed. For instance, if we have a structural fire, we get assistance. It’s departments-helping-departments and neighbors-helping-neighbors.”
Even though it’s a smaller district, it covers a wide area to help keep residents safe.
“We respond to the north all way to HH Highway; to the west to Farm Road 1045; to the south, join Cassville at Farm Road 2150 and Exeter; and to the east, join Jenkins east of C Highway,” he said. “We cover quite a bit.”
The district will hold its all-you-can-eat auxiliary annual community chili supper and auction on Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. at the Butterfield Community Center, located at 602 Ash Street. Serving begins at 5 p.m.. The auction, at 6 p.m.
Adults 11 and over are $5, children ages 3-10 are $3 and children ages 0-2 are free. All EMS personnel in uniform are $3.
All proceeds support the Butterfield Firefighters and Auxiliary.
A warm bowl of chili is always welcome, especially in colder temperatures.
With the cold, comes increased potential for fires, Dilbeck cautioned residents to be especially wary of fires.
“Usually starting in November, our fire calls increase for residential fires, because people are starting to build fires at home, so we get a lot of flue or chimney fires,” Privett said.
For assistance with fires, residents should dial 911, and for non-emergencies, people should call 417-847-4911 (Barry County Dispatch).