On Friday, January 20th, the doors of Pattonville Fire Protection District Headquarters were closed and locked for the weekend as they have been many times before. But, this Friday was special. This time the doors were closed amid feelings of celebration, accomplishment, fulfillment and gratitude as two Chief Officers with a combined 75 years of fire service experience walked out of the firehouse one final time and into their well deserved retirements. Although Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Paul Richard and Fire Chief Terry Loehrer will both be sorely missed by the Pattonville Fire Protection District and the St. Louis area fire service as a whole, the accomplishments they leave behind will forever keep both citizens and firefighters safe.
Chief Loehrer and Deputy Chief Richard both served through a great many experiences over their respective careers. Each having risen through the ranks of Firefighter/Paramedic, Engineer, Captain, and Battalion Chief, they were able to save the lives of countless individuals while having to forever bear the weight of those they could not. Each emergency to which they responded formed a new picture in their memory banks that provided them with a foundation on which they could build the next time they responded to a similar situation. Upon reaching their respective ranks as Fire Chief and Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal, these men employed their visionary leadership qualities to bring about the changes that ultimately made the Pattonville community and fire service a safer place to live and work. To say that these Chief Officers were distinguished in their careers would be both a compliment and an understatement all in the same breath.
Deputy Chief Richard served as Pattonville’s Fire Marshal for the last nine years of his career. In that time frame, he was able to take the District’s fire prevention and inspection programs to new heights and ensured that these programs ranked among the most successful of their kind. In so doing, Deputy Chief Richard played an integral role in preserving the safety of those he was sworn to protect and directly prevented an immeasurable number of lives from being lost. As a champion of life safety, fire prevention and code enforcement, Deputy Chief Richard’s heart was undoubtedly deeply invested in serving our community.
Chief Loehrer served as Pattonville's Fire Chief for the last ten years of his distinguished career. In that timeframe, Chief Loehrer brought many about a wave of progressive changes to the Pattonville Fire Protection District and St. Louis area fire service, all of which resulted in positive outcomes and improvements to both civilian and firefighter safety. Chief Loehrer worked with Pattonville’s organized firefighter labor force to implement a collective Labor-Management Process that allowed all District employees to play a direct role in achieving our mission to protect life and property. He played a key leadership role in implementing a regional radio communications system that has greatly improved the interoperability of St. Louis County’s fire service agencies and allowed for unsurpassed efficiency and firefighter safety. The collective result of Chief Loehrer’s administration was achieved earlier this year when the Insurance Services Office awarded our District with the coveted Class 1 rating, classifying Pattonville’s services as among the most superior in the Nation. Chief Loehrer was undoubtedly able to start his retirement knowing that Pattonville had been made even better as a direct result of his leadership.
Chief Loehrer and Deputy Chief Richard, as you enjoy your first days of retirement, we thank you for the many years of dedicated service you gave to the Pattonville Fire Protection District. Your visionary leadership, innovative techniques, adaptive and committed work ethic, consistency, accountability, honest communication and friendship over the years has undoubtedly made both Pattonville Fire Protection District and the fire service a safer, better place. We wish you both a long, prosperous, healthy and enjoyable retirement!