Two long-time Mifflin Township Fire Department employees marked their last days with the department last week: receptionist Karen Smith, 73, ended a 45-year career in public service, 37 of those years with Mifflin Township, and Michael Grossman, ended 29 years with Mifflin Township Fire.
Grossman joined Mifflin Township in 1987 as a firefighter/EMT. He has been promoted multiple times, working his way up to a lieutenant in 1997, to captain in 2000, to battalion chief in 2003 and to assistant fire chief in 2009.
He is a 1984 graduate of Gahanna Lincoln High School, and graduated in 1989 with a dual Associates degree in Fire Science – Command/Prevention and Safety Program Management from Columbus Technical Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration in Applied Leadership from Franklin University. He is a certified fire safety inspector, fire investigator, an emergency medical technician/paramedic, and a state of Ohio EMS instructor. Grossman is a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force from August 1984 through July 1991.
“During my years as a firefighter with Mifflin Township, I’ve seen the department grow, both in terms of personnel, as well as how service is delivered to the city of Gahanna and Mifflin Township. “We went from two to four fire stations, as well as a regional dispatch center. We went from five full time firefighters to 25 per day, and are the second busiest fire department in Central Ohio.”
Grossman resides in Canal Winchester with his wife Kimberly, and is the father of three daughters: Molly, Meredith and Marah.
"I will miss Assistant Chief Grossman tremendously, both personally and professionally,” said Mifflin Chief Kauser. “He brought with him an extensive background in the military, and his attention to detail and processes kept our division working like a well-oiled machine."
Joining Mifflin Township in 1979, Smith became the Fire Department receptionist in 2006. A native of Gahanna, Smith spent seven years with the state of Ohio’s Bureau of Support, Department of Mental Hygiene and Corrections, later known as the Mental Health Department from 1961 - 1969. She left to start a family, and would spend 10 years raising her children before going back to work.
“When I first started working, it was in the small office located at 218 Agler Road, which is now the Service Department office, and things were a lot slower then. The Township meetings were held there and about the most eventful thing taking place would be a burial,” said Smith. “We’ve certainly come a long way since then and I’m proud to say I was a small part of the journey.”
When she first began with Mifflin Township she was assigned bookkeeping and receptionist duties, but was also expected to serve an eight-hour shift per week as a dispatcher for the fire department, and assist when needed during regular office hours.
"Karen will be missed tremendously,” said Chief Fred Kauser. “Her kindness when speaking with residents, and her history and knowledge of the township simply cannot be replaced."