Fire Chief Mike Wisko
Mike Wisko has been Fire Chief since 2013. He began his career in Galveston in October 1988 and promoted to Engineer in 1991, Captain in 2004, Training Chief in 2008 and Assistant Chief in 2010. Chief Wisko is a third generation Galveston Firefighter following in the footsteps of his father retired Fire Chief Willie Wisko and grandfather retired Asst. Chief Wallace Graves.
Chief Wisko holds a Master Firefighter certification along with several other Texas Commission on Fire Protection certifications and has been a Paramedic since 1989. He is a 2012 graduate of the Texas Fire Chief’s academy as well as a 2016 graduate of the Texas A & M University May’s School of Business, Fire Service Chief Executive Officer Program.
During his 29 year career in Galveston, Chief Wisko has responded to disasters across the State of Texas and the United States including The Murrah Federal Building Bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, Hurricane Alex in 2010, the Wildfires in Bastrop and Magnolia in 2011 and the Fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas in 2013. He is also a proud member of Texas Task Force 1.
In addition, he has served on several fire service boards and committees including the Firefighter Advisory Committee of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, the Galveston County Firefighter’s Association and the Texas Fire Chief’s Association Executive Board.
Assistant Chief Charles Olsen
Charles Olsen, Sr. was appointed to the position of Assistant Fire Chief by Chief Mike Wisko on December 17, 2013.
Assistant Chief Olsen joined the Galveston Fire Department in April of 1991. He is a twenty four year veteran with the Galveston Fire Department.
Chief Olsen was born and raised in Galveston. He worked his way up through the ranks of the department, while also serving on the Galveston Firefighter's Local #571 Executive Board for over 20 years of his career. Some of the positions Chief Olsen held were Treasurer, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, and President.
During this time, he served on numerous committees and boards. He also served as the Chairman of both the City's Heath Board and is currently Chairman of the Galveston Firefighter's Pension Board, as well as lead negotiator of several contract negotiations between the City of Galveston and Galveston Firefighter's Local #571.
During Assistant Chief Olsen's career, he has served the community of Galveston in many ways. He is currently a member of the Knights of Columbus, the ELKS lodge of Galveston, and also served for many years as Vice President of Island Little League. He is the co-founder of the Galveston Firefighters Children's Parade. He has also served on several election committees for past City Council members.
During his career, he has received several awards for his service to the department and the community. Some of the awards are as follows: The Fire Chief's Award in 2005, Firefighter of the Year Award from the Veterans of Foreign War in 2005, and Firefighter of the Year from the Rotary Club in 2006.
Chief Olsen's goal as Assistant Chief is to provide a high level of service to the citizens of this community, while providing a safe and positive working environment for the firefighters who proudly serve this community.
Assistant Chief Richie Pearson
Assistant Fire Chief Richie Pearson is a 26 year veteran, joining the department in July 1991. Chief Pearson promoted through the ranks of Firefighter, Engineer and Captain before he was appointed Asst. Chief in October 2015. He holds his Advanced certified Firefighter certification with both TCFP & SFFMA and is an EMT.
During his career, Chief Pearson has served on the Executive Board of the Galveston County Firefighter’s Association and has been an instructor during the TEEX annual fire school. In addition, Chief Pearson has over 30 years as a volunteer with the Santa Fe Fire & Rescue, currently serving as Deputy Chief. In 2005, Chief Pearson received the Firefighter of the Year award from both the Galveston County Firefighter’s Association and the Gulf Coast Firefighter’s Association.
Chaplain Kelley Vaughan
Chaplain Kelley Vaughan is a third generation BOI (Born on the Island-er). He was asked to become chaplain in April of 2013 by then-chief Jeff Smith. He is a member of the national Federation of Fire Chaplains and the Texas Corps of Fire Chaplains.
A graduate of Houston Baptist University with a degree in Christianity and Sociology, and of Southwestern Seminary with a master’s degree in education, Chaplain Vaughan has added further study at the doctoral level in education. He has been on staff of churches in Houston, Arlington, and Denver, Colorado, and has been serving as pastor of Seaside Church on the Island since 1995.
Chaplain Vaughan has completed certifications in Essentials of Fire Chaplaincy, Critical Incident Stress Management Group Crisis Intervention, Peer Support/Crisis Intervention, and Advocacy for Emergency Services Personnel. He currently serves on the Galveston County Critical Incident Stress Management team.
Currently a volunteer, Chaplain Vaughan has numerous duties, including debriefing fire fighters after difficult calls or major crisis events, participating in community and department events and ceremonies, representing the department at regional functions, visiting each station and shift to get to know fire fighters and officers, performing weddings and funerals, offering spiritual counsel for fire fighters and their families or referring them to other health care professionals if needed, being on site at fires to offer support as needed to fire fighters as well as encouragement to concerned or grieving citizens, recognizing fire fighters on birthdays and anniversaries, and even writing an occasional blog article about his experiences as part of the fire service team.
Chaplain Vaughan has several goals for fire chaplaincy in Galveston. He would like to see the position become recognized as full time staff member. He would like to see enlistment of a team of local clergy as resources for fire fighters, as well as development of a resource packet to be made available to fire victims with contacts for everything from temporary housing to food assistance.