By Abbie Digel
The Big Sky Fire Department and community welcomed their new Chief, Bill Farhat, on Sept. 13, in a formal ceremony outside of Station #1.
After the swearing in, conducted by Carol Collins, the Chair of Fire Department Board of Trustees, Farhat gave a hopeful smile and said he “has a lot to learn.”
Farhat drove 27 hours to Big Sky on Sept. 12 from Southern Michigan with his wife Beth, and four daughters, who will start at Ophir School on the 14th.
Having never been to Montana, except for two extended visits during the application process, Farhat is excited to bring his family into the community. As for the fire department, he said, “there are all good changes happening here.”
Farhat has experience working in ski communities in Colorado, where he was a police officer in both Minturn and Avon in Eagle County, and enjoyed skiing at Beaver Creek. “I wanted to get my family back into a small community in the mountains,” he said.
Farhat started his career in the fire service in 1989 in Buchannan, Mich. He has been in the fire service his entire working life, but has also served as a paramedic and spent 13 years as police officer.
Before moving to Montana, he worked as the Fire Chief at the University of Notre Dame for four years.
The hiring process for Big Sky was the most thorough process he’d ever gone through, Farhat said. The Board conducted a two phase process, with a written assessment, a simulated fire situation, and public presentations, including a presentation at a Fire Department public picnic, and an interview with the Board.
“I don’t know what I don’t know yet,” Farhat said. “But I won’t disappoint you.”