Pleasant Grove retires five firefighters
Retiring fire chief Mark Hales shown with the display containing all of his former badges as well as two of his father's badges from their service with the Pleasant Grove Fire Department. Hales served the department for 35 years and his father served for 25 years. Pleasant Grove firefighters presented the display to Hales at an open house honoring those who retired. Nicole Miller courtesy photo
One last alarm rang for five retiring firefighters in the Pleasant Grove firehouse last week during a tearful presentation for those who had given a combined 92 years of service to the city.
The retirees included former chief Mark Hales, former captain Steve Carroll, the city's first female firefighter, Katrina Ferron, former captain Greg Lloyd and former engineer Dan Simko.
Firefighters sounded the alarm at the open house to show gratitude and say farewell as the firefighters were given distinguished service awards and flags that had flown over the fire station.
Fire Chief Marc Sanderson and Deputy Fire Chief Dave Thomas expressed their gratitude and respect for the departing members as fellow firefighters, family members, city employees and friends joined together to honor the retirees.
Hales began as a volunteer firefighter in 1977 and worked his way up through the ranks to be Pleasant Grove's first full-time fire chief, serving as chief from 1998 to 2006.
"He has served in every single one of the leadership positions in the fire department," Sanderson said.
Hales was presented with a shadow box containing all of his fire badges from his 35 years of service to the city during the previous week's City Council meeting. The presentation was emotional for Hales as he saw that the display also contained two of his father's badges.
"We have had 85 years of service in the Hales family," Hales said, noting that his father, uncle and two sons have all been firefighters.
"This is bittersweet," he said, of retiring.
Carroll had been with the department for 14 years and said that he, too, has mixed emotions about retiring. He began as a volunteer and said that the job made him feel needed and appreciated and has always been exciting.
"It's one of those things that I always wanted to do, and I got the opportunity here in Pleasant Grove," he said.
Ferron said she has been in the department for 8 1/2 years and joined the department after witnessing an automobile accident and helping the victims.
"From that moment, I knew I wanted to help," she said.
"I'm sad," she said about retiring, "but it's time for a change."
Lloyd said after being 25 years with the department that he will miss the people and the adrenaline rush.
"Whether it's medical or a fire, it's exciting," Lloyd said. "I'm glad to see [retirement] come and yet not. It's time to let younger guys step up and make their own memories."
Simko moved to Pleasant Grove in 1999 and wanted to get involved. After joining the department, he built friendships and began to feel right at home.
"It will be hard to fill a void like this, to find something else to do that is this rewarding," he said.
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08-07-2011, 02:23 PM #1
Pleasant Grove retires five firefightersFront line since 1983 and still going strong
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