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Sander nominated for Fire Chief of the Year

Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander

Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander was nominated for Fire Chief of the Year by the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

Marble Falls Fire Chief Russell Sander is up for Fire Chief of the Year. He is one of four across the state vying for the Texas Fire Chiefs Association award. The nominations were announced Feb. 22.

“I’m humbled to be honored with the nomination,” Sander said. “It was a nice surprise.”

The association will announce the winner at its conference in Waco from March 20-23.

Members of Marble Falls Fire Rescue submitted a short essay to the TFCA detailing why their chief deserved the honor.

“We’ll see what happens, but the fact that the staff took the time to write the submission and submit it means a whole lot to me,” Sander said. “I’m really humbled that they took the time to do this.” 

He credited his crew for his success as a chief.

“This is a team effort,” Sander said. “I’m just one person. They understand the vision and they carry it out. I’m very proud of them every day for what they do.”

Sander began his career in 1988 as a fire explorer in Taylor before serving as a firefighter in Georgetown. In 2006, he was sworn in as fire chief in Missouri City after two years as that department’s assistant chief. He took the Marble Falls job in 2016.

Over the years, Sander has learned the importance of staff development.

“Whether it’s fire service-related, leadership, or personal development, the better each individual is, the better we are as a team,” he said.

Other nominees for the TFCA award are chiefs Ken Prillaman of Wichita Falls, Michael Lugo of League City, and Jarrett Sheldon of Brownsville.

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by my staff and for the nomination to be accepted by the Texas Fire Chiefs Association,” Sander said. “We always say the fire service is a family, and it truly is. I really appreciate the (Marble Falls Fire Rescue staff) for doing this.”