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County Executive John R. Leopold Announces the Retirement of Current Fire Chief David L. Stokes, Sr. and the Appointment of New Fire Chief For The Anne Arundel County Fire Department

Annapolis (July 3, 2008) - Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold announced today the retirement of Fire Chief David L. Stokes, Sr., effective October 1, 2008, and the appointment of Deputy Chief J. Robert Ray as the 9th Fire Chief of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

“I am very proud of the work Chief Stokes has done during his tenure as Fire Chief,” County Executive Leopold said. “He has continually exceeded my expectations in being fiscally responsible and in working to develop partnerships between career and volunteer firefighters in the County to ensure that residents receive the highest possible level of service. I congratulate Chief Stokes on his retirement.”

County Executive Leopold continued, “Now, as we move into the future, I am equally excited to introduce the new Fire Chief, J. Robert Ray, who currently serves as Deputy Chief. Chief Ray has committed himself to a lifetime of service, and I am confident of a smooth transition as he takes on his leadership role.”

Fire Chief David L. Stokes praised County Executive Leopold’s appointment of Chief Ray stating, “Chief Ray brings a scope and breadth of experience that reflects his commitment to excellence in leadership. I am honored to have had the chance to serve the citizens of this County. I also want to express my appreciation to the members of this Department who prove they are the best of the best every day in service to the citizens of Anne Arundel County. I am proud of what we have accomplished together and thank County Executive Leopold for the privilege to serve.”

In accepting the appointment as Fire Chief, Chief Ray stated, “I would like to thank the County Executive for extending me the opportunity to serve our citizens as the Fire Chief. I look forward to continuing Chief Stokes' initiatives and continuing our partnerships with the Union, Volunteer Associations, and other County agencies, including the Police Department. I am confident that we will be able to achieve my number one goal which is to always ensure the safety of our emergency responders as they go about serving the citizens of the County.”

Chief Ray brings over 30 years of service to the County in assuming the role of Fire Chief.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD and a graduate of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives. He holds certifications as a Certified Fire Protection Specialist and Fire Investigator. Chief Ray has served in every major division of the Department including the Services Bureau, Operations Bureau and Communications Division. He has served as the Fire Marshal for Anne Arundel County, directing the code enforcement and fire investigation sections. Before accepting the appointment as Fire Chief, Chief Ray has been directing the Logistics Bureau. This is Chief Ray’s second appointment as a department head - in 2002, Chief Ray was tapped to direct the County’s Department of Inspections and Permits.

Chief Ray resides in Arnold with his wife Bridget and daughter Anne. He has two additional children: Colin Finnegan (a United States Naval Academy graduate currently in SEAL training); and Kathleen Finnegan Boyce who lives in Norfolk, Virginia.


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