Mehlville Fire Protection District is a political subdivision of the State of Missouri similar to a school district or library district. As a subdivision of the State of Missouri, the District operates under the guidelines set forth in the Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 321.
Mehlville Fire Protection District is operated by a three-member Board of Directors that is elected by the voters of the District per state statutes.
Aaron Hilmer was elected to the position of director with the District in April, 2005 and was re-elected in April, 2011 and April, 2017. Hilmer is a lifelong resident of the District and is a small business owner. He attended Lutheran South High School and then went on to become a successful investor. He has contributed significant time and resources to community volunteer work. Hilmer brings financial expertise to the District and has vowed to make sure that District expenditures are sound and warranted.
Dr. Bonnie Stegman, RN, was elected to the position of director with the District in April, 2005 and was re-elected in April, 2009 and April, 2015. Stegman is Assistant Professor of Nursing at Maryville University. At MFPD, her focus has been ensuring fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer and overseeing advancements in EMS technology, pre-hospital care and HIPAA compliance.
Edmond J. Ryan was elected to the position of Director with the District in April, 2007 and was re-elected in April, 2013 and April, 2019. Ed retired from the Parkway School District in June, 2012. During his employment with the School District, he was the Electrical Engineer/Project Manager. When elected in 2007, Ed vowed to continue the reform effort to keep lower taxes while improving the service within Mehlville Fire Protection District. At MFPD, Ed has been instrumental in coordinating maintenance and construction projects in an effort to keep costs down.
The Board oversees District operations and appoints the Fire Chief. The Fire Chief supervises a staff authorized by the Board to carry out the essential operations of the Fire District. Two Assistant Chiefs head up Fire Operations and Emergency Medical Services. Three Deputy Chiefs supervise three 24-hour shifts of firefighting and paramedic personnel. The Fire Marshal is in charge of the Fire Prevention Bureau.
Brian Hendricks - Fire Chief
Chief Brian Hendricks began his career with MFPD in 1998. He was promoted to Captain in 2008 and to Deputy Chief Training Officer in 2009. As Deputy Chief Training Officer, Hendricks expanded and enhanced ongoing employee training and education programs. He was promoted to Assistant Chief in 2010 and to Fire Chief in 2011. Chief Hendricks' philosophy is to promote input from District employees to improve the operation of the District. Hendricks said, "Our goal, every day, is to provide the best fire and EMS service to District residents while being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers."
Chief Hendricks holds a Fire Instructor I State of Missouri certification. He is on MFPD's Advanced Technical High Angle Rope Rescue Team, Special Operations Swift Water/Fast Rescue Boat Team and Strike Team 3. He holds technician certifications in boat operation, confined space rescue, rope rescue, structural collapse, swift water rescue, and trench rescue.
Daniel C. LaFata - Assistant Chief
Assistant Chief Dan LaFata worked for Shady Valley Fire Protection District, Rock Township Ambulance District, and the City of Webster Groves Fire Department before beginning his career at MFPD in 1995. He was promoted to Captain in 2006, to Deputy Chief Training Officer in 2010 and to Assistant Chief in 2012.
Assistant Chief LaFata's current State of Missouri certifications include Firefighter I & II, EMT-P, Fire Officer II, and Fire Instructor II. He is on MFPD's Advanced Technical High Angle Rope Rescue Team, Special Operations Swift Water/Fast Rescue Boat Team and Strike Team 3. He holds technician certifications in boat operation, confined space rescue, hazmat, rope rescue, structural collapse, swift water rescue, and trench rescue.
Todd Besancenez – Assistant Chief EMS
Todd Besancenez has over 37 years of experience in pre-hospital emergency care and services. He started his career at Mehlville Fire Protection District in 1995, was promoted to EMS Field Training Officer in 2010 and Deputy Chief EMS in 2015. In late 2019, Besancenez was promoted to Assistant Chief EMS.
Assistant Chief Besancenez has been integral to the District’s dedication to improving patient outcomes and quality of care. He developed the District’s Critical Care Paramedic program and spearheaded the launch of Mehlville Mobile Healthcare, the District’s new community paramedicine program. He holds certifications in Critical Care and Community Paramedicine.
Craig P. Walk - EMS Administrator
Administrator Craig Walk has 35 years of management experience in the delivery of pre-hospital emergency medical services and 43 years of overall experience in the Emergency Medical Service field. His diverse background includes field paramedic, aeromedical and pediatric critical care, administrator and EMS educator. Walk first worked for MFPD from 1978 to 1996, achieving promotions to Lieutenant and later EMS Supervisor. He returned to MFPD as Deputy Chief EMS in 2006 and was appointed to his current position in 2019. Walk was instrumental in developing the District’s successful Critical Care Paramedic Program that utilizes Paramedics being held to a “higher standard” through Critical Care Transport training.
Walk was in the first graduating class of the paramedic program at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Organization Administration from St. Louis University and his Master's Degree in Management from Webster University.