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Fire chief bids farewell to Fort Riley

By Julie Fiedler | USAG | June 18, 2013

On a day set aside to honor Scott Delay, he took time out to thank and honor those around him.

"It's never just about me," joked Delay, fire chief, Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services, Directorate of Emergency Services, before presenting Deputy Garrison Commander Linda Hoeffner with a bouquet of flowers.

Delay then summoned a host of other civilian employees to the front of the room during his own farewell luncheon June 4 at Building 1020.

"These are the folks that are in the foxhole, doing the grind every single day," Delay said. "Thank you guys for all that you do. Thank you for supporting the DES and fire department."

That desire to share the spotlight is one of Delay's hallmark traits, according to his wife, Holly.

"He's very humble. He just likes to give all the credit to his (team)," she said.

Delay is leaving his role as the fire chief at Fort Riley and heading to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., to serve as the fire chief there.

But he could not take his leave from Fort Riley without fanfare, as his team, coworkers and leaders had a different plan – to send him off with some humor and heartfelt comments.

"This man has been a great mentor. He's taken this organization to a new height that it's never seen before, and we all owe him a big debt of gratitude," said Robert Fisher, deputy fire chief, FES, DES, before addressing Delay directly. "Chief, I want to thank you personally and from the department for everything you've done for us – the mentorship, the guidance, the great leader that you've been. You will be missed."

Fort Riley Garrison Commander Col. William Clark presented Delay with a Superior Civilian Service award in recognition of his exceptional work at Fort Riley, as well as at the Installation Management Command level.

"When you say Scott's the man, he truly is the man," Clark said. "Everybody knows that Scott's performance across the board here at Fort Riley during his tenure has been incredible."

As Delay attempted to deflect attention, Clark quipped that attendees were gathered to recognize him, whether he wanted them to or not.

"What you have done for Fort Riley, really what you've done for our Army across the board, words cannot describe," Clark told him. "We all owe you a debt of gratitude – not just Fort Riley, but our Army – for what you have done for our community. You are all about taking care of Soldiers, their Families, our civilian teammates and retirees. You are all about leadership. You're about making stuff happen."

During his five years at Fort Riley, Delay worked diligently to improve safety programs, increase civilian educational opportunities and think outside the box to streamline operations, like the Wildland program, all in addition to his duties as fire chief overseeing fire protection and prevention operations.

"He's very passionate about his job," Holly said. "He's so proud of the department."

Delay's diligent efforts impacted not only Fort Riley and IMCOM, but also the Department of the Army, according to Lt. Col. Kevin Comfort, commander, 97th Military Police Battalion and DES.

"(Scott) took Fort Riley, built a team who spoke to IMCOM about the requirements of firefighting - personnel, equipment, their training requirements, and all of the strategic planning that's going into what firefighting looks like, not only at the garrison, but at the Department of the Army level," Comfort said.

In addition to the personal remarks, a video montage of photographs featuring Scott set to a chorus of "I Gotta Be Me" was played in farewell.

As memories were shared, jokes were exchanged and laughter sounded in the room, one thing seemed clear – the Delays would be missed.

Both Holly and the couple's daughter, Kendall, 5, were presented with special bouquets by Comfort.

"There's been an impact not just by (Scott), but by you on everyone in the organization," Comfort told Holly. "We're sincerely grateful. You'll be missed."

"And you, young lady, have always put a smile on everybody's face," he added, addressing Kendall.

"We're delighted to have you around, such a charming personality and a great sense of humor. We're going to truly miss you as well."

The luncheon ended with a farewell cake with a special decoration.

"It's Cirque Delay because all of us that have known Scott through his tenure here know that it's always been an enjoyable circus," Fisher explained.

Delay received numerous awards during his tenure at Fort Riley, including the Commander's Award for Civilian Service, Achievement Medal for Civilian Service and several Special Act and Service awards. Delay also was a finalist for the Stalwart Award in 2012, an IMCOM-level award, recognizing individuals who distinguish themselves among their peers and supervisors as outstanding IMCOM Soldiers and civilians.

Additionally, the Fort Riley Fire Department was named the IMCOM Medium-Sized Fire Department of the Year for 2012.

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