By Suzanne Mackey
After more than 25 years of service with the Pauls Valley Fire Department, Pauls Valley Fire Chief Joe Eddy has announced he is retiring from his post at the end of this month.
Eddy, who started his career with the department as a volunteer then moved into a full-time position before stepping into the role of fire chief nine years ago, said that while he’s looking forward to retirement, there are some things he is going to miss once he leaves the fire service.
“I don’t know how someone could do something like this for 25 years and not miss it when they retire. It really hasn’t been like a job. This is something I love, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to do something I love all these years,” Eddy said. “I’ll miss the camaraderie with the men, of course, but what I’ll miss the most is the excitement. I still love going on emergency runs.”
Making emergency runs safer for all those involved has been a priority for Eddy during his time as chief. Under his leadership, the department has been able to secure a significant amount of funding, largely through FEMA grants, to upgrade equipment and service vehicles.
He has also had the privilege of supervising the department’s move to a larger and more modern firehouse facility.
“One of the things I wanted to do as chief was to make us more visible, more involved in the community, to present us as a professional department,” Eddy said.
That’s a goal he feels has largely been accomplished, but not without help.
“The city has really been good to us and listened to what we’ve presented to them and provided what we’ve needed,” Eddy said. “I also want to thank the community for all their support. The citizens of Pauls Valley have really gotten behind us and supported us throughout.”
One of the accomplishments that Eddy said he is most proud of though, is his involvement in the formation of the Garvin County Fire Chief’s Association. The group was created several years ago with the goal of improving relationships between the numerous fire departments spread across Garvin County. As a result, the departments, who are frequently called on to work in conjunction with each other, have been able to build stronger bonds and more easily share information and training.
“It’s really improved the fire service in the whole county,” Eddy said.
Improving that level of service is a goal Eddy said he shares with all the firefighters he’s worked with during his time with the department – a group of men that have become like family to him.
“When I started out it was like I had a bunch of brothers,” Eddy said, then adds with a chuckle, “Now it’s like I have a bunch of sons.”
Eddy said he would also like to issue a public thank you to his family for their love and support over the years, but particularly to his wife Connie.
“It takes a special relationship and special wife to put up with what a fireman goes through,” Eddy said.
There will be a retirement reception for Joe Eddy on Sunday, May 20th from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Pauls Valley Fire Department, 201 S. Walnut. The public is invited to attend.