The Indian River Volunteer Fire Company is pleased to pay homage and recognize Immediate Past Chief Hayden Klingler as one who has served throughout the entire State of Delaware in the volunteer fire service.

In 1969, joining the Holloway Terrace Fire Company as a Junior Member and continuing to faithfully serve that community before relocating to the fire district of Christiana where he joined in 1978, serving 27 years, ultimately reaching the rank of Deputy Chief at Station 6.  In 2004, after relocating to Sussex County and joining the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, Hayden reached the rank of Fire Chief.

Over the years, Hayden served in many capacities for both administrative operations and fire line operations which included but were not limited to Delegate and Alternate for the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association, President of the Sussex County Fire Chiefs Association, member of the Delaware State Chiefs Association, Firefighter, Engineer, Ladder Captain, Second Assistant Chief, First Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, Fire Chief and now Chief Engineer.  Hayden has been awarded a Heroic Firefighter Award, Firefighter of the Year, Incident Top Responder, Hurst – Green Cross Award for life saving vehicle extrication measures, and many other recognitions over the span of his 55 year firefighter career.

Hayden is literally a voice recognized throughout the entire State of Delaware and one that is respected based upon his actual hands-on training of new recruits and officers through the ranks.

Hayden joined Hollway Terrace Fire Company in 1969 and was awarded a Life Membership in 1989; joined the Christiana Fire Company in 1978 and was awarded a Life Membership in 1999; and joined the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company in 2004 and awarded a Life Membership in 2024.

Therefore, in recognition of these feats, we have created this award to highlight these accomplishments for Life Memberships as well as recognizing Chief Klingler for his service over the past 55 years in the State of Delaware and most importantly the last five years as Fire Chief of the Indian River Volunteer Fire Co., Inc.

Chief Klingler was presented the following items:

Distinctive Shadow Chief Memorabilia recognizing the Year Joining the aforementioned fire companies in Delaware as well as the Year Awarded Life Memberships;

Distinctive Life Membership License Plate from the Indian River Volunteer Fire Co., Inc.

Distinctive Life Membership Pin from Indian River;

Distinctive Firefighter’s Axe Memorializing Chief of the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company;

Delaware House of Representatives Tribute presented by the Honorable Jeff Hilovsky, 4th District Representative, and

Delaware State Senate Tribute presented by the Honorable Gerald Hocker, 20th District Senator.

– Story submitted by Randy Roberts, photos courtesy of Indian River Fire Company