Chief looks at his career

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

How long have you been with the Demopolis Fire department?

I have been with the department a little over 25 years. I started with them in October of 1981 and have been with them since.

Was it your first job in a fire department?

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Yeah, when I came in I didn’t know anything about the fire service. As a kid I didn’t have a whole lot of interaction with the fire service. I knew this job was available, applied for it and I was hired. Every intention that I had at the time was to move on to one of these plants around here, but then I got into it and I loved it.

What about the job held your interest and prevented you from moving on?

Just helping people and the brotherhood. Anywhere you go in the United States, and I am pretty sure it is worldwide, you can go to a fire station and tell them that you are a firefighter and they welcome you with open arms.

What prompted you to remain in the Demopolis area for your entire firefighting career?

Demopolis is my home. I moved here in 1974 from Troy Alabama and one I got a drink of this old river water I just had to stay.

How has the fire department evolved during your time working with it here in Demopolis?

Well, when I started the school, the fire-fighting school, was taught here in Demopolis. We held several classes in what was then called the Demopolis Fire Academy. Now we have a state-of-the-art facility up in Tuscaloosa, called the Fire College where we send our recruits to receive training. They do a wonderful job and take recruits from throughout the state of Alabama to administer training to. Two hundred and forty hours was pretty much the normal standard requirement of study when I started. Now the standard is over 400 hours of training. That is a lot of studying and training for these new recruits.

What have you learned during your time with the department that you feel you will take away with you?

You always treat people the way you want to be treated. You have to be fair and treat everyone with respect.

When does your retirement go into effect?

My last day to work is December first and then I go on vacation for the rest of the month of December. I am officially retired after the first of January.

What are your plans after retirement form the Demopolis Fire Department?

I am going to go to work in the private side of the business.