South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Kestler’s departure leaves a void in city’s leadership

Karl Kestler, who has served the city of Crestwood for nearly 40 years, retired this week as chief of the city’s Fire Department.

As the Call’s Kari Williams reports today, Chief Kestler retired Jan. 1 after serving the city for 37 years.

Chief Kestler began his career with the city as a firefighter and rose through the ranks before being named fire chief in 1997.

City officials, including Mayor Jeff Schlink, have high praise for Chief Kestler and his service to the city over the years.

“I think the example he has set for not only people in the Fire Department, but in other departments within the city, I think has been a huge contribution to the city of Crestwood,” Schlink said.

Assistant Fire Chief Mark Menning, who succeeded Chief Kestler, also spoke very highly of the retiring chief and his leadership.

“He was always there, always in front,” Menning said of Kestler. “He made sure everybody had what they needed first. Took whatever there was last … (and we’ll miss) just that high moral, ethical compass that we knew he was leading the department by.”

Under Chief Kestler’s leadership, the city’s Fire Department has a reputation as a top-notch, professional department.

Chief Kestler planned to retire earlier this year, but willingly stepped up and answered the call when he was asked to serve as acting city administrator after former City Administrator Petree Eastman’s departure.

This wasn’t his first stint as acting city administrator as Chief Kestler served in that role in 2008 after the former City Administrator Frank Myers became the Glendale city administrator.

In our dealings with Chief Kestler both as fire chief and acting city administrator, we have found him to be a man of few words, but extremely professional, straightforward and honest.

Public service needs more true professionals like Karl Kestler.

We wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement.

Now that we’ve entered 2013, the Call will take a look back to the past year in next week’s issue when we present our list of the top 10 stories of 2012.

In the meantime, we wish our readers all the best and hope they enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

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