Western Carolina Fireman Climbs the Ladder
On March 9, 2019, Firefighter Kevin M. Rink (Delta Alpha–Western Carolina ’97) was named a battalion chief with the Charlotte, North Carolina Fire Department. Rink has been fighting fires for sixteen years, and says that battalion chief positions can be hard to come by. He says that when a position becomes vacant, a lot of hard work and preparation have to go into becoming qualified for it.
“It usually takes about six months studying out of the year and preparing for the testing,” Rink says. “A promotion’s only done when there’s a retiree or an acting [chief] position open, so sometimes there’s only one or two openings in a year. This was my second year in the process.” Rink was most recently stationed for six years someplace you might not think of offhand, at the fire station at the Charlotte airport.
Rink says that, although he works out of a specific firehouse, his job can take him anywhere there’s an emergency call. “I’m based at fire station number one, but I work all over,” he says, while explaining that he’s in charge of teams of firefighters at several locations. “I’m responsible for overseeing the daily staffing of the stations that are part of my battalion. There are six stations in my battalion, with either one or two trucks at each station, and four people on each truck. So I’m the direct supervisor for the crew on each truck.” Charlotte has 1,100 uniformed firefighters and 39 Batallion Chiefs at 42 fire stations serving 800,000 residents over 300 square miles.
“Learning those life lessons at such an early age, the leadership training, the honesty, integrity – it’s gone a long way in how I structure my life.”
With a BS/BA in business and managerial economics, Rink is a native of Apex, North Carolina, a couple hours east of Charlotte. He served as the Number I of Delta Alpha, and says there’s no doubt that being a member of KA at Western Carolina helped shape his career path and his success. “Learning those life lessons at such an early age, the leadership training, the honesty, integrity – it’s gone a long way in how I structure my life.”