Beecroft named new NFM fire chief
Ron Beecroft has spent 28 years with the North Fort Myers Fire District, working his way up the career ladder.
Last Monday, Beecroft reached the pinnacle of his profession, being named the new fire chief to replace David Rice, who announced his retirement July 10 for family reasons.
Beecroft was humble about the promotion, saying he just hopes to do a good job and keep moving the district forward.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to give back to the department and the residents of North Fort Myers,” Beecroft said. “I have a good relationship with the firefighters and the commissioners. I think we can make this a great place to work, which it is.”
Rice was originally going to retire in February, but moved up his retirement when a family member got sick. While it was rather abrupt, the district had anticipated the move and chose to promote from within.
“David did a good job. He’ll be missed, but sometimes you have to do something you don’t anticipate when it comes to your family,” Fire Commissioner Danny Ballard said.
Assistant Chief John Manson, who is nearing retirement himself, decided to stay where he was, so it was Beecroft and fellow Battalion Chief Mark Westra who applied for the position.
Beecroft was named by the Board of Commissioners during the July 20 district meeting. His replacement as battalion chief has not been named.
“It was a real stressful situation, but I’m looking forward to go ahead with the department,” Beecroft said.
Beecroft was born in St. Petersburg and moved to North Fort Myers with his family in high school. In 1992, he joined the fire district, first as a firefighter, then progressing through the ranks as an engineer, captain, and battalion chief for nine years before finally becoming chief.
“Some friends of mine joined the department and I followed along. I worked construction before that and ended up with my own company,” said Beecroft. His son, Donald Jr., will take over the running of the business.
Beecroft has inherited a pretty good situation at North from the former chief. He said he will keep doing what they’ve been doing and keeping morale up, buying new equipment and keeping the fighters safe.
“I would like to keep the guys we have around instead of them going somewhere else. We need to keep our pay in line with other districts,” Beecroft said. “Chief Rice made it very easy to move in and take the ball and run with it.”