ROCKINGHAM — The city of Rockingham has hired Harold Isler to lead the Rockingham Fire Department.
Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump said Isler will begin his new duties as fire chief on Aug. 1 — 20 days before current Fire Chief Chuck Gardner’s retirement.
Gardner announced in March his plan to retire on Aug. 21, just 10 days after his 11th anniversary as Rockingham’s fire chief. Gardner will work with Isler up until his retirement.
Isler, who is originally from Goldsboro, became a firefighter with the Goldsboro Fire Department in at the age of 18 in 1997 and has more than 17 years of experience.
In October 2002, he was promoted to fire engineer in Goldsboro, and in December of 2008 he was promoted to captain at his home department.
“Ever since I walked through the door (at the fire department) I prepared myself to grow and advance,” Isler said.
Isler has an associate’s degree in communications, a bachelor’s degree in business/public administration and will complete his master’s in administration just in time to start his career in Rockingham.
Isler saw the job advertised and was immediately interested in the position, but it took a trip to Rockingham to make up his mind. He was selected from a pool of almost 50 applicants for the job.
“Rockingham feels like home,” Isler said. “I really am tickled with the closeness of the community. My daughter personally fell in love with Discovery Place (KIDS). We really enjoyed the visit.”
Isler is married to Dr. Tesha Isler who is employed with the Wayne County Public Schools and is an adjunct professor at the University of Mount Olive. The couple have a 9-year-old daughter named Destiny, and they are expecting a child later this year.
Isler said he is excited to have accomplished one of his dreams.
“I think it’s every fire fighter’s goal to become a fire chief,” Isler said. “It has always been my goal. Now I’m really looking forward to helping others, leading other fire fighters in the pursuit of their goals and serving the community.”
Crump believed that the hire would be beneficial to the residents of Rockingham.
“Rockingham is fortunate to be able to hire a fire chief with the qualifications and experience that Mr. Isler has in the fire service,” Crump said in a news release to The Daily Journal. “He comes highly recommended by his current fire chief and I am impressed with his commitment to public service and his professional dedication to the fire service in particular.”
Isler is looking forward to continuing the work that Gardner started at the Rockingham Fire Department.
“He’s leaving the department in great shape,” Isler said. “It’s a department moving forward, and it’s doing good for the community. I’m hoping to be able to come in and continue his work while bringing in some of my own ideas.”