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Golnik tapped as fire district commish

The South Kitsap Fire and Rescue’s Board of Commissioners announced Thursday it had appointed longtime Olalla resident and Bremerton Fire Department Captain Paul A. Golnik to take over its empty fifth seat, left vacant Jan. 31 when Rick Metzger resigned.

“We had eight great candidates, and it was a tough decision, but we chose the candidate we thought could best serve the district,” said board chair Dusty Wiley following the announcement, which the commissioners made after meeting in executive session to discuss their choices.

Wiley said Golnik’s 13 years as a volunteer firefighter for the district — from 1971 to 1984 — spoke to his commitment.

“We need somebody that’s really going to participate, so we look at how much time they have invested and how much interest they have shown,” he said, explaining that in the past “people have wanted to join for the wrong reasons, and really weren’t prepared to dedicate the time.”

Wiley said commissioners often start out as volunteers. Both he and his brother — fellow commissioner Roger Wiley — started out as district volunteers before following in their father’s footsteps and becoming commissioners.

After his appointment Thursday night, Golnik said he was honored to be chosen and was looking forward to his temporary term, which may be extended if he is elected to the position in November.

“I feel I have a well-rounded vision of the district and its needs, and have a lot I can contribute,” he said, addressing the board and the small audience gathered.

Golnik was chosen over seven other candidates who applied for the position.

On top of his dozen years as a volunteer for the district, Golnik has lived in South Kitsap for 50 years, attending local schools himself before raising seven children here.

He currently lives on a 25-acre farm in Olalla with his wife, and most of his children and grandchildren reside in South Kitsap as well.

In August, Golnik earned the rank of captain in the Bremerton Fire Department, where he has worked for 35 years and plans to retire from this year.

He first became interested in fire service while taking classes at the Yukon Harbor Fire Station in 1961 as a Boy Scout.

Golnik also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1970, worked briefly for Boeing and ran several local businesses, including an electronic repair service and a construction company.

Former commissioner Metzger announced his resignation last December, citing concern that his new job with the U.S. Navy was preventing him from devoting the time he felt was necessary to be an effective commissioner.

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