CHARLES B. CONWAY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Gary is an example of someone who has truly lived and breathed the fire service for most of his adult life.
Gary Reuter has served 43 years with the Lancaster Fire Department, joining as a firefighter in 1979 and serving as Fire Chief from March 1992 to March 2004. Upon stepping down from the Fire Chief post in 2004, Gary continued his service as a Captain through 2011, when he was then elected to serve as the department’s Treasurer--a role in which he presently continues to serve today.
For the past 43 years, Gary has been a passionate and devoted member who is truly and wholly invested in service to his community and to the betterment of the fire department. Gary’s leadership during his tenure as
fire chief completely transformed the department, with aggressive and successful initiatives to build a new fire station, modernize apparatus, and promote meaningful training and state certification for members.
Despite his retirement as Fire Chief, Gary has remained very active as a member and officer of the fire department, and to this day continues to attend all leadership meetings to offer his advice and counsel.
Gary formally joined Lancaster EMS in 1999 and obtained his EMT-B certification. As the ambulance service evolved, Gary became certified as an Advanced EMT and presently serves as an AEMT and elected Vice-
President of the service’s Board of Directors. Over the past decade, Gary has been the ambulance service’s most active member, taking more on-call time and running more 9-1-1 calls than any other member.
Gary has also put his apparatus expertise to use for the ambulance service and has served on the EMS service’s vehicle replacement committee, overseeing the design of the service’s last four ambulance purchases.
In 2018 the members of the fire department created a new non-profit entity known as the Lancaster Fire Fund, Inc. to oversee fundraising efforts independently of the City. Gary was a charter member and continues to serve on the Board of Directors as the Treasurer. The non-profit organization holds numerous fundraisers each year and has obtained several sizable donations and grants to support the department.
Gary has been known throughout this region as a leader and a person who goes beyond the call of duty to serve his community. In addition to his service to the citizens of Lancaster, Gary has also served as President of the Grant County Firefighters Association and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois Fire/Rescue Death Benefit Plan. He currently also serves as the Treasurer of that same entity
which is now known as the Grant County Emergency Services Association. He has dutifully attended the county association’s monthly meetings for more than three decades.
Gary has been a 30+ year member of the Fire Service Advisory Board for Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, through which he has helped to shape the region’s training program for current and future generations of firefighters.
Gary always led by example, obtaining certifications as well as faithfully attending the Wisconsin State Firefighters Association convention and Monroe Fire School annually since the 1980’s. Over the years that tradition has continued therefore creating a progressive department regarding state certification for firefighters.
Gary also pushed for fundraising. During his tenure, the department’s fundraising efforts blossomed, which allowed them to augment the city budget to update turnout gear and other critical equipment.
Gary was awarded the Lancaster Fire Department’s first-ever (and only) lifetime achievement award in 2014. In the years following, he has continued to serve our department as Treasurer, and each year since then has actively run on more ambulance runs than any other volunteer on our EMS service— hundreds per year.
At age 70, Gary remains an active member of the Lancaster Fire Department and Lancaster EMS, and presently runs more 9-1-1 calls and inter-facility transfers than anyone else on the EMS team.
Gary is an example of someone who has truly lived and breathed the fire service for most of his adult life. Like a lot of our fire department families, Gary’s children grew up around the fire station and eventually became members themselves. His son Scott served for 25 years as a firefighter, Captain, and Assistant Chief. His daughter Angie has been an EMT with Lancaster EMS for 22 years and previously was a firefighter as well. Gary’s grandchildren spend a good amount of time at the fire station and are likely to continue the family’s legacy of service.