NVFC appoints interim CEO after sudden loss of CEO Heather Schafer

Rhode Island Firefighter Kevin D. Quinn, a retired deputy chief, will take on the interim role as the council searches for a permanent CEO


By Laura French

GREENBELT, Md. — The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has appointed an interim CEO following the unexpected death of longtime CEO and Executive Director Heather Schafer in March. 

Retired Union Fire District (R.I.) Deputy Chief Kevin D. Quinn, who continues to serve as an active firefighter, was named interim CEO on Tuesday, as the NVFC's Executive Committee plans a national search for a permanent CEO, according to a news release. Quinn has represented Rhode Island on the NVFC Board of Directors since 1983 and is the past chair and current first vice-chair of the organization. 

Retired Union Fire District (R.I.) Deputy Chief Kevin D. Quinn has been named the interim CEO of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) following the unexpected death of CEO and Executive Director Heather Schafer.
Retired Union Fire District (R.I.) Deputy Chief Kevin D. Quinn has been named the interim CEO of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) following the unexpected death of CEO and Executive Director Heather Schafer. (Photo/NVFC)

"It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Heather Schafer, who led the NVFC for 27 years and oversaw a period of great growth and success for the organization," Quinn said in a statement. "As we move forward, we will carry on her legacy and the NVFC's work to support the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. It is my calling to serve our nation's boots on the ground, and I am honored to steer the NVFC's mission and continue our course as we navigate this difficult transition period." 

Quinn first joined the fire service in 1976, is the past president of the Rhode Island State Firemen's League and serves on the boards of the NVFC, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition and National Fire Academy Board of Visitors. He also serves on the International Code Council (ICC) Fire Code Action Committee, is a Rhode Island state advocate of the NFFF Everyone Goes Home-Courage Be Safe Program, is the liaison of the South Kingstown Decontamination Unit and is a member of the Home Valley HazMat team. He holds master's degrees in education and counseling and educational psychology.

The NVFC Executive Committee also appointed a search and transition team to conduct the search for a permanent CEO. The team plans to have a new CEO in place before the 20th-anniversary commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks. 

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