MFD’s Leiskau promoted to Battalion Chief
Following the recent retirement of Battalion Chief Steve Hintze, the Merrill Fire Department has promoted Jon Leiskau to the position of Battalion Chief – Operations.
Sunday, June 2, was Leiskau’s first day serving in his new role, although he has been with the department since 2001.
As the Battalion Chief in charge of C Crew, he supervises six firefighter/paramedics on a daily basis and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the fire department. Additionally, Jon will handle lead coordination of the fire department’s public education/relations and facility maintenance.
In the fall of 2018, Leiskau competed with four other internal candidates of the department, for the top spot on the eligibility list for battalion chief. The promotional process was very extensive including a written test, peer review, two separate interview panels, writing assignment, and assessment center. The process was the most comprehensive in department history. While the results showed all five candidates were worthy of the promotion, Leiskau was the clear choice.
The Merrill Police & Fire Commission officially approved Merrill Fire Chief Josh Klug’s recommendation, to approve Leiskau at their April meeting.
During the 18 years Battalion Chief Leiskau has been with the department, he has completed numerous training courses like ice and swiftwater rescue, confined space rescue, hazardous materials, incident command courses, and fire investigations.
Jon also holds the state certifications/license of Firefighter I & II, EMT-Paramedic, Driver/Operator – Pumper & Aerial, Fire Inspector, Emergency Services Instructor, and Fire Officer.
Leiskau has not only been busy with training, he is also responsible for a host of other fire department activities like Adopt-A-Highway, Keep the Wreath Green campaign, Merrill Firefighters Scholarship, and most recently the Team Bonder campaign for Merrill sports teams.
In addition to his training and fire department experience, Jon is very active in the Merrill community. He is president of the Merrill Wrestling Club, director the Merrill Firefighters Charities softball tournament, co-chair of the Tree of Hope program, and board member of Silver “M” Club. Jon has also coached Merrill youth for flag football and wrestling. In 2016, Battalion Chief Leiskau was selected by Liberty Mutual Insurance for Firefighter of the Year award.
In addition to his accomplishments at the fire department, Jon is a proud family man.
He and his wife Kelly have raised three children: Erica (and son-in-law, James Madden), Emily, and Bradley. Jon and Kelly have two grandchildren as well, Carter and Vayda. Leiskau is also proud of his family members serving the Merrill Fire Department before him. His great grandfather, Alfred Johnson served in the 1940’s and his great uncle, Dave “Meatloaf” Johnson served from 1968 – 2000, retiring as a Deputy Chief.
Even though Leiskau is now in an officer position, he still very focused on moving the department forward and providing the best possible care to the Merrill community. He also credits those he has worked with in the past for his success.
“For 18 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous members that taught me what it meant to be a member of this department,” Leiskau explains.
“It was more than just going on emergencies, but also the between-alarm value that the public expects.”
The Merrill Fire Department is very excited to have Jon in his new position.
“We know that Battalion Chief Leiskau will continue to work hard and give Merrill his very best,” says Chief Klug.
The Merrill Fire Department will host a badge pinning ceremony on June 17th.
At the ceremony, BC Leiskau will receive his new badge and fire helmet shield. The public is invited to attend and will begin at 5 p.m. outside the station (weather permitting) by the firefighter memorial.