Former Gwinnett firefighter appointed as Barrow fire chief

WINDER - A former Gwinnett County assistant fire chief has been appointed to serve as Barrow County's fire chief.

Robert Post, 57, retired from Gwinnett County Fire Department in December after almost 34 years of service. He will fill the position vacated by former Fire Chief Mitch Kitchens in May.

The Youngstown, Ohio, native came to Atlanta in 1968 to attend college. He graduated from Massey Jr. College and DeKalb College, then worked at the Orlando Sentinel newspaper as a staff photographer for one year. Post served as a Decatur police officer until June 1973, when he was hired as Gwinnett County's 28th firefighter.

"I was hired by Ray Mattison, who is now Winder's Fire Chief," Post said. "At that time, Gwinnett County had two fire stations, in Norcross and Lilburn. Now they have 27."

Post climbed the ranks from firefighter to assistant fire chief commanding the business services division. He oversaw budgets, finance, EMS revenue, logistics/supply, fleet management and arson and explosives investigation.

During his years with the Gwinnett County Fire Department, Post won several meritorious awards. In 2004, he was honored for saving a young man's life. The man had stopped breathing following a traffic accident, and Post was able to clear his airways and get him breathing, again.

Post completed the Fire Officer program, a four-year program of the National Fire Academy, and completed the Certified Fire Officer program offered by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

"My accomplishment was in watching the department grow and being fiscally responsible," Post said. "I had a major role in the design and construction of new fire stations and managing the budgets."

Post will step in as Barrow County Fire Chief on July 2. Specifically, he wants to add at least three more county fire stations.

"There is so much opportunity in Barrow County, they are like Gwinnett was with so much potential coming in next five to 10 years," Post said. "They have a good base but it needs guidance and leadership to move forward."