TWO RIVERS, Wis. (NBC 26) — For the last two years, Richard Barbier hasn't just had a boss. The Two Rivers fire medic says his leader is also a friend.
"Having good conversations about faith, family and about the job," he said.
But soon, the head of the Two Rivers Fire Department is saying goodbye.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him," Barbier said. "So with all that, it's bittersweet; sweet that I'm here, bitter that he's leaving."
Two Rivers Fire Chief Steve Denzien is leaving the department for the same position in Grand Chute.
"The members of the Two Rivers Fire Department are some of the most outstanding individuals I've actually come in contact with," Denzien said. "They're great, service-oriented individuals."
Denzien is leaving after four years. Through his time as the former president of the Rotary Club of Two Rivers, he's developed a close community bond.
"I feel that throughout my life, I'm probably not going to make a huge difference," he said. "But if I can inspire others and bring them up and help them achieve their goals to create that great change in things, I think I've pretty much succeeded."
He was born and raised in Milwaukee and came to Two Rivers after 21 years at the Brookfield department. Denzien takes pride in being a mentor.
"I've tried to really push the department forward in some aspects of technology and service providing, making sure we had a succession plan, making sure that we had some staffing," he said.
When he gets to Grand Chute, he plans to join another rotary club. And he's looking at adding EMS to the department, meaning firefighters train as paramedics.
"I think I really have the opportunity to help them achieve their next level, and that's really what I'm interested in.
Denzien's final day in Two Rivers is Jan. 13.
"I wish I could've accomplished more, but God has been very faithful and he has blessed my family and myself very much," he said. "I will take his path and where he's leading me and I think there's gonna be great things coming."