Chief Olsen was born and raised in Galveston. He joined the Galveston Fire Department in 1991 and worked his way up through the ranks of the department, while also serving on the Galveston Firefighter's Local #571 Executive Board for more than 20 years.
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 serving on the Galveston Firefighter's Pension Board.
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.
Chief Olsen has received several awards for his service to the department and the community, including the Fire Chief's Award, Firefighter of the Year Award from the Veterans of Foreign War, and Firefighter of the Year from the Rotary Club.
“My priority as the chief is to provide a high level of service to the citizens of Galveston, while also 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.