For the first time in 37 years, Peters Township Fire Department has a new chief.
Daniel Coyle, who joined the department in 1977, participated in a change-of-command ceremony during Monday’s township council meeting, during which Michael McLaughlin Jr. took the oath as new chief.
Taking McLaughlin’s position as deputy chief was David Caputo, who was promoted from captain.
Prior to his retirement, Coyle oversaw the expansion of the department to accommodate growth in the township, the population of which has risen by more than 50 percent since 1990.
“He’s also overseen the transition of the fire department from a private entity stocked with volunteers and consisting of both paid firefighters and volunteers,” Frank Kosir Jr., council chairman, said. “Throughout all those changes, one thing has remained consistent. The chief has always been steadfast in his dedication to his men and his women. He has always represented this township with dignity and with honor.”
Coyle said he has been proud to serve the township and acknowledged municipal leaders for their roles in helping the department keep up with the needs of the community.
“It’s been a huge responsibility, and within that, you’re constantly looking for someone who can be the next guy to stand up. And I believe that we have that person in Mike McLaughlin,” Coyle asserted. “I’m sure he’ll do a fine job.
McLaughlin called his new position an honor.
“In some municipalities, it’s the title of someone who gets voted in every year by the fire company, and this position can change quite frequently,” he said. “In Peters Township, it’s been 37 years since our last chief took office, and in that 37 years, the title of fire chief has grown to mean so much more than just the person in charge of the fire department.
“Chief Coyle has helped make this position into an extremely prestigious figure within our great municipality,” McLaughlin continued. “The men and women sitting in front of me, and the many others who served in this community as firefighters, are also reasons why this position is held so highly.”
Coyle handed over his command by pinning the chief’s badge on McLaughlin’s jacket.
“And with that, as Chuck Noll said, it’s time for me to go on with my life’s work,” he said. “Family’s a big thing to me, and my extended family, the fire department: That’s what I’ll miss the most, is the people.”