LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Released by the City of Longview:
LONGVIEW, TX - After 31 total years in the Fire Service and almost 28 years with Longview Fire Department, Assistant Chief Claude Ford is hanging up his Fire Helmet. He is retiring. Ford's last day on the job will be September 17, with an official retirement date of September 26.
Ford started in 1979 with the Longview Fire Department and was a firefighter for 2 years. He resigned for a position with the Lone Star Steel Fire Department from May 1981 till December 1982. He then returned to Longview Fire department in January 1983. During his tenure, Ford has held almost every rank in the department including Firefighter, Driver, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief and now Assistant Chief of Operations. He has served as Instructor for 20 years with the Annual Municipal Fire School held in College Station each summer. He was one of the original Instructors when Kilgore College Fire Academy started in 1989 and taught there for 51 classes. He holds a Master Firefighter Certification with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.
Ford notes that there have been many changes in the Fire Service since 1979, most notably with regard to technology, communications, safety measures, protective gear, as well as medical services.
"It's been a long time but a good ride for me and my family." says Ford. "People ask me what I'm going to do now. I tell them I am going to have 6 Saturdays and one Sunday each week. I don't have anything planned right now. My main focus will be having time for my wife, kids, and grandson, as well as serve at my church with special projects. I would like to thank the City of Longview and the Longview Fire Department for a career that I will remember for a lifetime."
After his many years on the job, Ford encourages others in the Fire Service to continually remember the impact of the job. "In my opinion, there is no greater job than emergency services and the opportunity to help people. Keep teaching and training your crews to be able to go home, even when things go wrong. We train our people to work with saws that travel 6000 RPMs and work with hydraulic tools that will lift a school bus off the ground. It's a dangerous job. Keep fit, keep training and go home to your family. Train safely as if your life depended on it because it does. Be a positive influence. Treat each call and customer as if they were one of your family members. Have fun in this career. It is indeed the ultimate Team Sport."
A retirement reception has been scheduled for from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 15, at the Longview Fire Department Training Center, located at 307 American Legion Blvd.
About Chief Ford
- Sabine High School 1976
- Kilgore Junior College Fire Protection Certificate with Honors 1999
- Clackamas Community College- Emergency Management Classes 2006
- Professional Development- National Fire Academy on-Campus Class 1999
- Texas Commission on Fire Protection- Master Fire Fighter Certification (2006) and Intermediate Instructor (1999).
- U.S. Department Homeland Security – All Hazards Incident Management Team 2008
- 1980 "Fire Fighter of the Year" Award presented by then the Longview Civitians Club
- Past President of the Northeast Texas Firemen's and Fire Marshal's Association
- Presented the Longview Fire Departments "Chiefs Award" 2007.
- Member International Association of Fire Fighters
- Member Texas Association of Fire Fighters
- East Texas All –Incident Management Team