R. Stephen Best, Sr. was born at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital and raised in the Deep Creek area of Chesapeake. He began his fire service career as a volunteer at the age of 16 in the city of Chesapeake, Virginia. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Chesapeake Fire Department as a full-time paid professional firefighter in December 1974. During his career, he worked as a fire inspector and served as the Fire Marshal for the Fire Prevention Bureau. Chief Best was promoted up through the ranks of the department and served as the Assistant Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief from January 1991 until April 1998 when he assumed the role as Fire Chief and Emergency Services Coordinator. Chief Best completed his career in the Chesapeake Fire Department upon his retirement on January 1, 2010.
Throughout this time, Chief Best continued to pursue his education. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Governmental Administration, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Juris Doctor from the Regent University School of Law.
Chief Best was recently appointed to Chief Executive Officer for the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation. Prior to that appointment, he completed service as a Project Director for the Hampton Roads Regional Catastrophic Planning Team (HRRCPT) through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, where he assisted in the development of a Regional Catastrophic Response Plan for twenty-four jurisdictions in Virginia and Northeast North Carolina. In addition, he is a consultant for fire protection and related services for business and industry.
Chief Best is an active life-long member of Deep Creek United Methodist Church, where he is a lay speaker, Sunday school teacher and the Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee. He has served in numerous leadership positions with the Church, including Chair of the Church Council, Staff Parish Relations, Trustees, Finance and Building Committee to name a few. He is active in the community and holds membership and leadership positions on numerous boards, committees, and service club organizations. He and his wife Sheree, have two sons, Stephen, Jr. and Christian. They reside in the southern area of Chesapeake.