Brian Twiss sworn in as VPSD fire chief

Brian Twiss, left, is taking over for Edmund Cain as the fire chief for The Villages Public Safety Department following Chief Cain’s retirement.

The Villages Public Safety Department’s new fire chief, Brian Twiss, stood with a smile on his face as his wife, Minneola Fire Department Capt. Misty Morningstar-Twiss, pinned him during his swearing-in ceremony at VPSD Station 44.

Retired Fire Chief Edmund Cain officially passed the baton to Twiss on Monday morning, marking the end of Cain’s 20 years of service at the department.

“I just wanted to say thank you very much, and I’m very honored to step into this position,” Twiss said. “It is an honor to be appointed to a position to lead the great group of people that we have. I appreciate Chief Cain’s support and getting me to where I am. I also want to thank everybody here because I couldn’t have made it to where I’m at without the support of everybody else. And last but the most important — I have to say thank you very much to my wife. She’s been absolutely amazing through every part of my career and supporting me.”

VPSD’s Honor Guard kicked off the ceremony by posting the colors before District Manger Kenny Blocker welcomed everyone to the event and Twiss into his new role. 

Lt. Chris Gruber, president of the Professional Firefighters of The Villages IAFF 4770 union, also welcomed Twiss and presented him with a pen. 

“We’re very excited and very proud of Chief Twiss,” Gruber said. “We’ve seen him move up through the ranks and work his way up through every position. We’re also very excited to see this culture we’re creating of promoting from within.” 

In one of his final acts as fire chief, Cain swore Twiss in to his new position.

“Coming up through the ranks, I am always taking the next rank to try to better the department and better myself,” Twiss said. “When I found out that Chief Cain was retiring, I felt like I could bring the leadership that was needed to bring the department to the next level with the amount of growth and everything that we have going on.” 

Since he joined The Villages Public Safety Department in 2009, Twiss has worked his way up from firefighter/EMT to firefighter/paramedic, lieutenant, battalion chief and deputy chief of operations before stepping into his new role as fire chief. 

“The dedication he has shown to this department over the years is truly admirable, and he has our full confidence and trust in his ability to lead The Villages Public Safety Department in its mission to serve the community with the highest level of care,” Blocker said. 

Before Monday’s ceremony ended, the department presented Lt. John Longacre with a certificate for his 20th anniversary at The Villages Public Safety Department.

It also paid one last tribute to Cain with a final call out over all of the department’s radios, marking his retirement and thanking him for his 40-plus years of service as a first responder. 

“I cannot think of a better individual to take my place than Brian,” Cain said. “He’s excelled in every position.” 

Staff Writer Veronica Wernicke can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5307, or veronica.wernicke@thevillagesmedia.com.