After his home burned down three weeks ago, former Miami Fire Chief Kevin Trease trusted in God to provide for him and his family.
And He did.
Trease, who has served the City of Miami in various capacities since 1988 and currently works in the city utility department, has been hired as city manager for Dewey. He starts his new job a dream career for Trease July 6.
Dewey is located about 78 miles west of Miami, in Washington County, and had a population of 10,367 as of the 2008 census.
Following the fire that took most of his possessions, Trease appeared to have hit a brick wall. He had submitted his resume for city manager to towns and cities all over the country, and had even interviewed, but the phone remained silent. His house was gone. So was everything in it. That included not only family keepsakes but also wardrobes. Trease had only two changes of clothing.
Still, on this particular day about a week after the fire, he told his wife, Trisha, that everything would work out.
“I told her, 'God will take care of us, He's got a plan for us - I don't know what that is right now but I know He has a plan for us,'” Trease related. “I said, 'We will get through this. We'll just put our trust in Him and He will take care of us.'”
The very next day Trease got a call at work from the City of Dewey, asking for a second interview. A couple of days before meeting with the city council, he realized there was a slight problem.
“I told my wife, 'honey, I don't have a suit anymore - I don't even have a pair of shoes!” Trease laughed. “It was kind of sad, really. But you have to laugh about this stuff. If not, you would cry.”
They immediately went shopping.
On the night of the interview, Trease was one of three candidates for the Dewey city manager's position who spoke before that town's council. The other two contenders were already city managers and had years of experience in that role. Trease didn't have any. Driving home, he told his wife not to get her hopes up too high.
“But I said, 'you know what? I went in there, I answered their questions and I was just myself,'” Trease said.
The next afternoon he got a call from the mayor of Dewey who told him “congratulations” and offered Trease the job.
“I was like 'really?' I was in shock,” Trease laughed. “But it was true. God was taking care of us. He's provided us a path. It's a miracle how He takes care of you sometimes, but I'm sure thankful for it.”
Trease, who served as Miami Fire Chief from 2003 to 2009, said he has wanted to be a city manager for years and simply set a career goal for himself. It's a job, he said, where he feels he could really apply his leadership and management skills.
Trease started out at the bottom, joining the Miami Fire Department in 1988. Fifteen years later he became fire chief. Then he moved over to city hall, where he's handled a number of positions there at the recommendation of Miami City Manager Huey Long to get some well-rounded experience of the inner workings of a municipality under his belt.
Not long after he first became city fire chief, in 2003, he enrolled at NEO A&M College to get his associates degree. Then he went on to earn a bachelors degree in business administration from Oklahoman Wesleyan University in Bartlesville. He is currently working on his master's degree in public administration through Norwich University in Vermont.
Trease said he feels his mustanger experience of working his way up from the bottom, will make him a good city manager because he will already understand the departments below him.
“A lot of city managers don't have that ability,” he said. “They get out of college and jump right into management and they don't know what it takes to put in a water main down the street.
“I have more of an employee perspective that I can apply my management decision making. And I think that's going to help me a lot in the future. I personally think I will make a good city manager. Time will tell.”
Trease said leaving Miami would be tough, however.
“I've loved Miami all my life,” he said. “I was born and raised here and it's really tough to leave. But my goal was to become a city manager and I think Dewey is going to be a perfect fit for me. I can learn a lot and I think I have a lot to offer them. I'm looking forward to it. I hate to leave Miami but I want to be a city manager so this is what I need to do. This is what God has for me.”
Moving with Trease to Dewey are his wife, Trisha, and their three children: Mason, 11, Mallorie, 8, and Averi, 4.