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‘A good head on his shoulders’

Posted 5/30/17 (Tue)

‘A good head on his shoulders’

(Editor’s note: This is part one of six in a series profiling community members of McKenzie County’s smaller towns.)

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

Kyle Chernenko opened the door of the Grassy Butte Fire Hall, flipping on lights and raising the door in front of two gleaming red fire trucks.
“We just got this one,” he said, patting the closest of the two, an F550 all-around response unit. “We’re trying to update trucks.”
Chernenko, 30, is the youngest fire chief in McKenzie County, now in his fourth year as chief for the Grassy Butte Rural Fire Protection District.
“My parents raised me to always help someone and this is the best way I know how,” he said.
Fire prevention is in his blood; his dad Ron was secretary-treasurer for the Grassy Butte district for 16 years. Chernenko has been on its roster since he was 18, but helped on the sidelines as a kid.
“All the older guys, they’d be out at the head of the fire doing whatever and then us kids would get rakes and go around and scratch out cow turds that were still smoldering or a little bit of grass here or there that was still smoldering, hit it with a flapper,” he said.
After time in Wyoming’s coal mines, he came back to Grassy Butte and the fourth-generation family farm and ranch near town.

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