"Some people referred to him as Mr. Woodward Township," Mike Fetzer of the Dunnstown Fire Co. said about his former chief Charles Rine. "There were three things he cared about: his family, this fire company and Woodward Township."
Charles Calvin Rine Jr., called Chuck, was born on Oct. 11, 1950 to Charles and Ruby J. Rine of Mill Hall. He attended school at Mill Hall and graduated from Bald Eagle-Nittany High School. During his time in school, he wrestled and also worked at the Clinton Country Club, where he helped his uncle do grounds-keeping.
After graduating in 1969, Rine started college. According to his wife, Barb, he didn't finish his first semester. Instead, he went to work.
Charles Rine Jr., Past Dunnstown Fire Co. Chief
"He worked for Dean Phillips," daughter Jennifer Hoy said. "It was where Addie's is now. They sold auto parts and bicycles, almost a general store.
"They were a hometown version of Kmart or Wal-Mart," Barb added.
Rine worked there a short time, then took a job with American Auto, located where Lowe's now stands. During that time, the family moved to Sunbury, but Chuck continued working in Mill Hall.
1972 turned out to be a very important year for him. He married Barb that April. Two months later, Hurricane Agnes struck the East Coast. The severe flooding in the area heavily damaged American Auto and it was forced to close its doors. At the same time, Rine joined the Dunnstown Fire Department to help out with the flood. That decision forever after affected his life.
"He went to work for another American Auto store in Milton," Barb said. "He was there for about a year, then we moved back to Mill Hall and he started working for Sam Hoy Construction."
After working with Sam Hoy, Rine went to work for Turner Motors and finally McEntire's. He worked as a parts and service manager. He would later apply his knowledge of motors and auto mechanics to the fire department.
In addition to other jobs, Rine also served as township supervisor. He held this position for more than 30 years, and it earned him the previously mentioned informal title of "Mr. Woodward Township."
Throughout all the time he worked at various jobs, he was a firefighter. He stayed with the department until he passed away, on April 6, 2011. He spent most of those years as fire chief.
"He was at the fire company for 30-some years," Fetzer said. "He was chief for about 28. There were only five years in and out he wasn't fire chief."
In 1975, Rine trained to be an EMT. In October 1977, Dunnstown Fire Co. started the Clinton County EMS, which took care of the area of Dunnstown, Lamar, Flemington, Lock Haven and Beech Creek.
"He was instrumental in getting some of that together," Barb said.
According to Fetzer and Justin Baker, another member of the fire department, Rine played an integral role in expanding both the company and the fire hall.
"When I first started, there were just two bays at the hall," Fetzer explained. "We parked three pieces of apparatus where we have bingo now. Since he started here, we built a whole second addition and brought in three new pieces of fire apparatus. That was with all the other guys too, but he was the mastermind behind it. He knew what motors and rear ends we wanted. He was the type of guy that when he had something in his mind, there was no changing it."
Fetzer went on to explain Rine's work to get them a new engine in 1995. Rather than accepting the prices given to him, Rine called around and priced individual pieces of equipment. The engine was made to his specifications.
Both his family and his fellow firefighters had stories to offer about Rine's experiences with the department.
"We lived on Mill Hill," Barb said, discussing one of these stories. "When we moved in there, he thought that since it was such a short distance, he wouldn't have to drive. So his first call, he put on his gear and tried to run to the fire hall. But the guys had to pick him up. That was the last time he decided to run."
Jen also has a story, a rare time when her father didn't hear the call.
"When Smith Furniture burned down, I heard the call on the scanner. He didn't," Jen said. "I went into his room and asked 'Aren't you getting up?' Then he was up and out the door, running."
Fetzer and Baker, with their experiences at fire scenes, saw a different side of Rine.
"There are enough stories about Chuck to fill a book," Fetzer said. "The easiest way I can explain him, you either loved him or you hated him."
Baker added that Rine was not afraid to take charge, sometimes of more than he was authorized to.
"Sometimes we would go to fires and he would be giving orders to people outside the department," Baker recalled.
"Chuck had a whistle that no one is ever going to be able to copy," Fetzer said. "When he whistled, you stopped dead and looked for him. When you made eye contact, he was barking orders. A lot of the guys here knew it. There were tons of times in Renovo he'd do that whistle, and all of 'his troops' would come, and he'd say, 'There's two things we can do. We can put the fire out and go home, or be here all night. I don't want to be here all night.'"
"He used to give us time frames when we went to structure fires," Baker said. "He'd give us five or 10 minutes to put it out, then he was coming in after us. And you didn't want him after you."
"I swear he slept here. When the tones sounded, he was there," Fetzer said. "Some of us lived pretty close, but he'd be here and have the piece out and ready to go."
When Rine wasn't working or at the fire hall, he enjoyed hunting and trips to Ocean City. He was also a well-regarded cook. The members of his fire company recall his passion for cooking, both at home and at the fire hall.
"He loved to cook," Fetzer said. "He had a mini-industrial kitchen in his house. He'd get done working early on Friday then come over to the fire hall. When we got there, he'd already have food going."
On Aug. 7, 2007, Rine was named a lifetime member of the Dunnstown Fire Co.
"He was a Dunnstown Fire Co. member until the day he died," Barb said. "They did a last ride for him on the fire truck. That was his request for them."
Charles Rine is remembered by different people for a great number of things. Husband, father, fire chief, cook, mechanic and township supervisor are just the tip of the iceberg. He may have made some enemies over the years, but he got the job done and made a lot more friends. What is certain, is that Woodward Township and the Dunnstown Fire Co. would not be what they are today without Charles Rine.