Longtime Tyler Firefighter Retires - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Longtime Tyler Firefighter Retires

The City of Tyler said goodbye Monday to one of its longtime firefighters. A retirement party was held for Captain Howard Kennedy at the fire training center in Tyler.

Kennedy retired this month after 35 years with the department. Kennedy's career has led him through nearly every fire station in town. In those 35 years he said the relationships with other firefighters haven't changed, but many other things have.

"Our breathing apparatus is so much better, our communication equipment is so much better, we've got laptops in the trucks, well they're working on them now they've been a problem but they're getting better I think," he jokingly said.

Mike Nipp has fought fires alongside Kennedy for over 10 years. He said he couldn't have worked for a better guy.

"Howard is a good guy, if I said he's a little bit moody everybody would probably agree but we all are to an extent," Nipp said with a grin. "As far as standing up for his men he'd do that in a heartbeat."

Others remember the many lives he helped save.

"We had (a) fire call where there was an infant that was lost. I searched until another unit got there, we were searching frantically trying to find this infant, Howard was the one that walked in the door and seemed to walk right to the child and got them out of the house," said Assistant Tyler Fire Chief David Schlottach.

It's memories like that one that make this retirement so special. Kennedy just hopes he's helped.

"It's just a job, it's a job and it's a good job," he said. "I've done mine for 35 years, I hope I've done it well enough."

With Kennedy's retirement, the department will see two promotions. Ken Sheid will take over as captain at Fire Station 6 and Cordell Parker will move up to be a driver.

Kennedy has plans for his retirement. He said he and his wife plan to buy an RV and travel the country.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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