EDITORIAL: Shift ends for city chief
Thumbs up: Best of luck to David Michaels as he joins WellSpan York Hospital’s emergency management team.
He deserves it after 28 years of service to the citizens of York City – first as a firefighter and most recently as chief of the department.
“It’s going to be nice," Michaels said late last month on the eve of his retirement. "I’m not going to have a pager every night."
The 51-year-old was hired right after he graduated from York College in 1990. He was a firefighter for 10 years before getting promoted to lieutenant. Eight years later he was promoted to assistant chief, then deputy chief in 2010. He took over as fire chief in April 2012.
The final year of his tenure saw an expansion of the department — including 18 new hires since last August — but also tragedy with the deaths of two firefighters during a building collapse in March 2018.
Firefighters Ivan Flanscha, 50, and Zachary Anthony, 29, died March 22 when a wall collapsed at the former Weaver Piano & Organ Co. building at 127 N. Broad St. Their deaths were the department's first line-of-duty fatalities in more than 40 years.
Michaels said the firefighters want to continue to honor the fallen, and the best way is for the department to keep doing what they do.
“We’re never going to forget that, it’s always going to be part of our history," he said.
Thumbs up: Congratulations to the York Young Professionals for 20 years of helping up-and-coming movers and shakers make local connections.
It celebrates this notable milestone on the heels of equally impressive growth – attendance at its monthly gatherings has doubled in five years to 80, and its total membership is now about 200.
The group does more than just establish professional connections, according to President Laurin Gross — it helps create roots in the community.
"A lot of people build long-lasting friendships," she said, adding that if they want to explore what York County has to offer, they now have people who will join them.
All job fields are welcome, and though there's no age limit, members must be 21 to join and typically average between ages 25 and 35. Anyone who feels they would find value in the group can become a member.
More information about membership can be found at yorkyp.com.
In memoriam: York City lost another trailblazing leader late last month.
Wm. Lee Smallwood — the first African-American city council president, former head of the York chapter of the NAACP and military veteran — died Jan. 30 at the age of 73 after a decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis.
The news followed the Dec. 9 death of longtime York City Councilman Ray Crenshaw, a pioneer who helped break down racial barriers in the community and fought for equality and justice, say those who knew him.
Sandra Thompson, the current president of the local NAACP, said Smallwood left a legacy for future generations of African-Americans, “to say that they can attain what he had
attained, they can aspire to the same positions because he achieved it.”
Both gentlemen will be missed.