McPherson’s Fire Department Chief Jeff Deal is hanging up his gear on Sept. 21 and Deputy Chief T.J. Wyssmann will be taking over as interim chief for the department.

Wyssmann was appointed to the post Monday morning during the McPherson City Council’s regular meeting at the city building on 400 E. Kansas Ave.

He said he has “big shoes” to fill.

“The city commissioners and mayor appointed me as interim a month in advance for us to make the transition process of Chief (Jeff) Deal retiring as easy as possible,” Wyssmann said. “I think that Chief (Jeff) Deal has done a tremendous job for the community and the fire department since he’s been here. He’s been a great mentor and I’ve appreciated everything he’s done for us.”

“You always hope that as a chief when you retire that you have an internal candidate to pick up the ball and run where you left off, and I think Chief Wyssmann will do an excellent job with that,” Deal said.

Wyssmann has been with the McPherson City Fire Department for 16 years.

“This is something I’ve been working for throughout my career. I figured I would eventually get to this stage, but I didn’t know it was going to be in McPherson; and I’m really happy I have that opportunity here and I don’t have to go somewhere else for it,” Wyssmann said.

Now that Wyssmann has been selected interim, however, he is still performing the duties of a deputy chief until that role is filled.

“Right now I’ll be pulling a double duty. We currently do not have anyone to fill that old role. So we’re going through a whole bunch of processes there. We’re going to have to find another individual either within or outside that will step into my old role,” Wyssmann said.

Deal said that now is the time move onto the next phase in his life.

“There is an affective level that every chief goes through and at some point when you realize you no longer can be as affective as you want or once were, then you need to recognize that it’s time for you to get out and let someone else push the train up the hill. I pushed this train as far as I can get it, and now it’s someone else’s turn to get it up the hill,” Deal said.

Deal said he’s been honored to be a part of so many good changes that have happened in the fire department during his tenure.

“I’ve been privy to a lot of incredible changes in the fire service and I’ve been allowed to bring some amazing things to the table which I’m very proud of,” Deal said.

Deal said the people he works with have inspired him through the years.

“These guys don’t make a lot of money, and they definitely don’t do it for the fanfare or the glory. As a matter of fact, you’ll find most firefighters shy away from the glory — that’s not in our nature. There’s something about firefighters. It’s a different breed of people. It’s their attention to service... it’s truly inspiring,” Deal said. “The fact that I got to hang out with those people for 25 years, and that those people are my friends, is amazing. When you go into a burning building with someone, there’s a close-knit bond. Your lives are in each other’s hands. Some of my greatest memories are the friendships I’ve forged over the years.”

Deal plans to be an adjunct instructor after he retires.

“I’ll be teaching some courses for different colleges. I’m very excited for this next phase in my life,” Deal said.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.