After more than 40 years working in Riverside, assistant fire chief/emergency manager Mike Shelton retired last month.
Shelton started in Riverside in 1977 after starting his career in emergency response in 1970 in Liberty.
When he started in Riverside he was working for public safety —police and fire — though his background was as a firefighter and EMT. He graduated from the academy to fulfill the police needs and added the responsibility as fire commander and emergency management director.
He initially retired for one year after working 26 years with Riverside, but came back when the police and fire departments split in 2012, where he became assistant fire chief.
While in the role of emergency management director, Shelton was charged with a lot during ice storms (2002), a tornado (2003) and three different floods (1993, 2011 and 2016). He oversaw planning the responses to each emergency, working with local officials and sometimes even rescues.
The first of the floods was the Great Flood of Missouri that sent the Missouri River into towns across the state and caused substantial damage in Riverside.
“On 9 Highway, we had as much as 28 feet of water,” he called. “Everything else we have had may reach the damage (total) from 1993. That was a big one. The flood help create the levee system we have now.”
The year after the flood, Argosy Casino came to town, which was a big boost in the rebuilding efforts. Shelton’s retirement party from the city was held at the casino.
Shelton, a Kanas City native and Oak Park graduate, may be done with being a firefighter but he will still be busy in his retirement, which he hopes to include some travel and leisure time.
He has been a part-time office at Weatherby Lake, since 2004, and will continue that role. He is also a civilian volunteer for emergency management and the Platte County Sheriff’s Office.
Shelton was honored during the Missouri Municipal League Westgate Region event on Thursday, July 26. Shelton was one of 30 people to be given the Civic Leadership Award at the Hilton Garden Inn in Independence, Mo.
Shelton and his wife, Leeann, were there along with Riverside mayor Kathy Rose.