Pictured, from left, are Capt. Linn Baxa's wife Corie Bush Baxa and the couple's son Jackson, Capt. Linn Baxa, Mayor Robbie Skinner and Capt. Joey Baxa at the Feb. 3 pinning and promotional ceremony. / Photo courtesy Amy Baxa

‘Captain Linn and Captain Joey’: Fire department lieutenant promoted to captain rank

BUCKHANNON – Not one, but two Captain Baxas are now heading up the Buckhannon Fire Department’s leadership.

Former lieutenant Linn Baxa was promoted to Capt. Linn Baxa at a special promotional pinning ceremony at Buckhannon City Council’s Feb. 3 meeting. Linn Baxa joins his brother, Capt. Joey Baxa, as one of two ‘captain Baxas’ along with Capt. Brian Elmore and fire chief J.B. Kimble.

Mayor Robbie Skinner congratulated Linn on progressing through the department’s promotional process.

“There will be two Captain Baxas now, so ‘Captain Linn’ and ‘Captain Joey’ is going to have to be what we call them,” Skinner said.

Capt. Joey Baxa, who presented his brother with the captain badge and pin, said his brother had put in a lot of hard work to earn the elevated rank.

“Just as a backstory, the Buckhannon Fire Department has a promotional process that we have to go through to achieve rank, and that involves several tests, some classes and thousands of pages of reading,” Joey said. “But above that, you’ve got to earn the respect of those you work with, and I feel Linn’s done that greatly, and this is a proud moment for me as his brother and also his co-worker.”

Linn Baxa’s wife, Corie Bush Baxa, and the couple’s son, Jackson, attended the council meeting to assist with the pinning.

Holding up the bright, shiny captain’s badge, Skinner said he’s always grateful for the selfless service of emergency first responders like the Baxa brothers.

“This will never be this clean again and that’s because of the work that these gentlemen and these ladies do for our community every day,” Skinner said. “And watching them on scenes of car wrecks and saving lives at the River Trail, just for example, and going into the building up here on Main Street, we’re reminded of the sacrifice that they provide for this community. And they don’t do it for the money, they don’t do it because it’s a glamorous job.

“They do it because they love the people,” the mayor added. “They love the place, and they want our people to be safe, to be well-taken care of.”

In fire chief J.B. Kimble’s absence, Capt. Joey Baxa delivered the fire department report and highlights, saying the BFD is in the midst of planning a firefighters training conference for January 2023 at the Event Center at Brushy Fork.

“We’re modeling this out after some other states. There’s really nothing like it in the state of West Virginia,” he said. “We’re hoping to have 200 to 300 people in attendance, and that’s something that will be good for everybody.”

Joey Baxa also told council he, Kimble, public works director Jerry Arnold, street superintendent Brad Hawkins and Skinner traveled to Bridgeport to check out that area’s live-fire training facilities. City firefighters have pitched the idea of developing a fire service training facility at the Street Department’s new headquarters on Mud Lick Road across from the waste garage.

“We went up and looked at their fire training facility to give Jerry (Arnold, public works director) an idea of what it takes to put [a fire training facility] together,” he said.  

Councilman CJ Rylands thanked Baxa for the city firefighters’ efforts to recruit volunteers and advance the department. Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 17 in council chambers.