Huntington fire chief named one of TIME's top 100 influential people

Published: Apr. 19, 2018 at 11:48 AM EDT
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Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader is being recognized on a national scale once again for her devotion to helping people. Now, she has been named one of TIME Magazine's Top 100 Influential People of 2018.

In a statement to WSAZ reacting to the news, Rader was humble.

"I am honored," Rader said. "I think that this is a result of the community coming together to work diligently on a difficult social issue."

Rader has been a dedicated leader on the front lines of the opioid crisis. In 2017, she was sworn in as the first female fire chief in West Virginia history.

Continually raising awareness about the drug epidemic and what is being done to fight it, Rader attended President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in Washington this year as U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's guest.

She was also thrust into the spotlight after being featured in the Netflix documentary "Heroin(e)" which received an Oscar nomination for the Documentary Short category. Rader, along with Cabell County Judge Patricia Keller and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry, attended the Oscars ceremony.

The TIME list is categorized, with Rader honored under the "pioneer" category of influential people.

Each person also has a tribute -- a description of why he/she is influential.

Rader's tribute was authored by Sen. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat:

"Huntington, W.Va., fire chief Jan Rader has spent her career running toward fires and training the next generation of firefighters to do the same. And right now in West Virginia, our biggest fire is the opioid epidemic. Like they are in many communities across the country, overdoses and overdose deaths are a frequent occurrence in Huntington. And like many local heroes, Rader is on the front lines combating this epidemic every day. Nevertheless, her strength and compassion never waver. She has saved countless lives and has been unrelenting in her commitment to help people struggling with substance-use disorders return to lead productive lives. As the first woman to lead a professional fire department in West Virginia, she broke down barriers for young women across our state and continues to serve as the type of leader West Virginia and America need right now. If every city had a chief like Jan Rader, our country would be a better place."

How does TIME come up with their list?

"TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people is a designation of individuals whose time, in our estimation, is now," a TIME article states. "The TIME 100 isn’t a measure of power, though many on the list wield it. Nor is it a collection of milestones accumulated. As our staff considers candidates, we often find ourselves wowed by those with stunning lifetime achievements. But editorial director Dan Macsai, maestro of the TIME 100, brings us back to the key question: Was this their year?"

While TIME makes the final judgement call on who makes the list, there was a public voting period.

With this latest accomplishment, Rader is helping to make history, not just for Huntington, but for women as well.

In a TIME Magazine article, a staffer wrote, "While we remain much too far from gender parity in global leadership, there are more women than ever on this year’s TIME 100—proof that there are ways of changing the world beyond traditional power structures."

Although Rader has been recognized several times on a national scale recently, the Huntington community and the staff here at WSAZ know her as the first responder at a fire, overdose, or other emergency call, dedicating her time to saving lives and bettering the town she serves.

View TIME's entire list here: