As of Jan. 1, Eric Kukuchka became chief of Triton Hose Company in Tunkhannock.
Triton President Chuck Sands, said Monday that every year the company’s board of governors takes resumes of interest regarding leadership within the company, and this year the board made a decision on Kukuchka, who had been an assistant fire chief to former Triton Hose Chief Randy White for the past four years.
Kukuchka, 43, said Monday that ever since he was in high school in 1994 he has felt a duty to serve through Triton, and just marked his 25th year with the company.
“I can’t explain it, it’s just in my blood,” Kukuchka said.
And it’s more than just answering emergency calls as he did during the thick of the flooding in 2011, or tending to a motor vehicle accident or fighting fires as duty calls.
Two years ago, he got quite the thrill witnessing the birth of a new fire engine - a 2017 Pierce Velocity made-to-order in Appleton, Wisc.
It was about a 6-month process with a weekly updating of pictures of what the new fire engine was evolving into with state of the art capabilities for dispensing water and/or compressed air foam.
At the time it was unquestionably the most advanced firetruck in the county.
But while state-of-the-art is one thing, Kukuchka said he worries that not so many in his or the generation to follow volunteer as they did in his dad’s generation.
So one of his goals as chief will be to work with fellow Triton members to recruit more volunteers.
“When people are willing to serve, that is a win-win for all of our communities,” he said.
Kukuchka is supervisor of the Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home on West Tioga Street, and he also serves as Chief Deputy Coroner for Wyoming County. He and his wife Gretchen also own Tunkhannock Monument Company.
They are long-time residents of Tunkhannock with their children: Grayson, Maryn and Kattrin.