Recently, James B. “Brad” Russum was selected as our “Inside the Fire Station - Member Spotlight” profile.
At the age of 14, Brad entered the Chestertown VFC on July 21, 2003, through our Explorer Post. The Explorer Post was a Boy Scouts of America coeducational program designed to introduce young people to various career possibilities. Our program provided exposure for a potential career as a firefighter.
Over the past two decades, his time with us has been busy. Starting out as a firefighter, he progressed through the ranks, promoting first to Lieutenant, Captain, and then Assistant Chief. Currently, he is serving as the Deputy Chief, second in command on the operational side behind the Fire Chief. (Brad was the Incident Commander for the recent fire at 98 Cannon Riverfront Grille, a serious fire that was successfully mitigated without injuries.)
On the administrative side of the company, Brad is serving on the fire company Board of Directors.
Brad is happily married to Kelley Russum, whom was a previous “Member Spotlight” profile, back in September 2021. Together, their children include Silas Payne, Gabriella Russum, Ryland Culotta, and Reagan Russum. Their household menagerie includes two dogs, Mack and Beau, and a cat… Poe. Poe is a feral rescue which showed up as a kitten on their doorstep, out of the blue, and adopted them. He has endeared himself, cementing his place in the family.
Brad is a 3rd generation firefighter. His grandfather, Ralph Russum, was a member of the Chestertown VFC back in the day, and an early member of the Kent & Queen Annes Rescue Squad, when that organization first formed, back in the 1950’s. Brad’s father is Phil Russum, a long-time member of the Chestertown VFC and himself a previous “Member Spotlight” profile, back in October 2021. (Are you sensing a pattern here? ) Given the family tradition of our fire company motto “Service for Others”, we have a hunch Brad & Kelley’s children will follow their footsteps. Brad’s mother is Mary Etta (Thompson) Russum, herself a community booster. Mary Etta’s brother Lenny, Brad’s uncle, was a member of the Chestertown VFC back in the day.
Professionally, Brad has worked as a 9-1-1 / Public Safety Dispatcher for both Kent County (Maryland) and Queen Annes County. When Kent County Department of Emergency Services expanded its EMS program, he returned to work as an Emergency Medical Technician. When the head of county emergency communications position became available, he interviewed for the position. As of today, Brad is serving as the Kent County Department of Emergency Services, Chief of Communications. In this capacity, he has responsibility for, and oversees our county 9-1-1 / Dispatch Operations, where he continues to impress with his capabilities.
As a millennial, Brad is extremely proficient with modern technology. As such, he dabbles with his own side business, Shore Tech Solutions. When not busy with all the irons in the fire he juggles, he enjoys spending time with his family, where he also likes to experiment in the kitchen, providing interesting meals and dishes for the family to enjoy.
Please join us in congratulating Brad on his selection as a recent “Inside the Fire Station – Member Spotlight” profile.