Romance Forged By Fire Makes Richmond FD History
Couple Promoted Together
POSTED: 8:42 am EDT September 12, 2007
UPDATED: 8:54 am EDT September 12, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. -- For every couple, there's usually a time when sparks fly -- when you realize you were meant to be together.
For Hallie Tilton and Raymond Neville, that time came amid the smoke and flames and scorching heat of a burning building.
Of course, the incendiary encounter was planned -- a rite of passage known as "Burn Night" that is part of a final training exercise for recruits soon to become Richmond firefighters.
"He gave me this look, like, 'You can do it,"' said Hallie, 34, recalling that evening in 2003.
"He led me into the hottest room in the search-and-rescue drill. That's when I thought, 'We could follow each other anywhere,"' she said last week, sitting in the kitchen of Station 18 on Thompson Street.
"She's a really good fireman," said Raymond, 28.
The academy classmates didn't start a relationship until after graduation, when he was assigned to Station 18 in the city's Museum District and she was sent to Station 17 in South Richmond.
They married in October 2006. And last week, the Nevilles also made history, becoming the first husband-and-wife team in the Richmond Fire Department to achieve the rank of lieutenant.
"We were not expecting to get promoted, but we were ready to get promoted," said Raymond, a Fairfax native who worked for nearly five years as a firefighter in Keystone, Colo., before coming to Richmond. He will transfer next week to Rescue 1 in Church Hill.
"It's an honor. There are a lot of great people on that list."
Hallie, who grew up in Ashland and switched to firefighting from a career as a sports trainer, will be assigned to Station 6 in downtown Richmond.
The Nevilles were among 10 firefighters -- three of whom are women -- promoted to lieutenant by Chief Robert Creecy. Seven lieutenants were promoted to the rank of captain in the department, which has 413 sworn members.
Included among the promotions to lieutenant was Robin McCarter, whose husband, Phil, is also a Richmond firefighter. Firefighter Melodie Spivey was also promoted to lieutenant. Spivey is the wife of Henrico County fire Lt. Mark Spivey.
Raymond Neville's older sister, Laura, is scheduled to graduate from the fire academy next month.
Richmond firefighting will soon become even more of a family affair for the Nevilles. Hallie is expecting their first child in January and is on limited duty. There will be no more running into burning buildings in the immediate future.
Right now, the couple have the same simple wishes as any prospective parents -- a happy and healthy baby.
"He can do whatever he wants because we could," said Hallie, whose career move kindled a romance, and a family.
"But if he wants to be a fireman," said Raymond, "that would be cool."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.
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09-12-2007, 10:17 AM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
WELL NOW Couple Promoted TogetherIf you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
"I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD
"Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)
Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!
impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto
IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.
09-12-2007, 01:31 PM #2
very nice story.i wish them the best: promotion and baby."sauver ou périr"
"courage et dévouement"
2 french mottoes in french fire service.
09-12-2007, 03:32 PM #3
09-13-2007, 11:52 AM #4
09-13-2007, 12:01 PM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
09-13-2007, 12:08 PM #6
09-14-2007, 01:35 PM #7
"He led me into the hottest room in the search-and-rescue drill. That's when I thought, 'We could follow each other anywhere," - Ach, pardon me I have some clean up to do here now....
Romance and the fire service, yeah, always a great mix.Vita brevis; terra larga.
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