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Galveston Fire Chief Jeff Smith Announces His Retirement.
After 30 years of service to the community and more than 10 years in Fire Administration, Fire Chief Jeff Smith announced his retirement from the City of Galveston as of May 7, 2013.
Smith presided over the recent Galveston Fire Department badge pinning ceremony, recognizing and promoting firefighters within the City and overseeing their oaths of service.
“Our Galveston firefighters are the best the Texas fire service has to offer” said Smith. “They place themselves in harm’s way when required and they are committed to excellence. They all give back to the community every day. Who could ask for more?”
During Smith’s tenure with the City, he was recognized by the Texas Fire Chief’s Association for the Safety Award, as well as the Community Builders Award from the Harmony Lodge. He was instrumental in response and rebuilding efforts after Hurricanes Rita and Ike, and reorganized the Galveston Fire Department to sustainable levels in the wake of these disasters.
“I am saddened by the announcement of Chief Smith’s retirement today” remarked Assistant City Manager Brian Maxwell. “Jeff has served our Island proudly for years in many capacities and Galveston is by far a better and safer place as a result. His leadership and friendship will be greatly missed. I wish Jeff and his family only the best and I have enjoyed each and every day that I have had the privilege of serving with him.”
Assistant Fire Chief Mike Wisko will serve as Interim Fire Chief at the time of Smith’s retirement. Wisko previously served as Acting Fire Chief from November 2012 to January 2013.
Galveston Fire Swears In New Hires, Recognizes Promotions, Acts of Service.
The Galveston Fire Department officially swore in nine new firefighters and recognized promotions for an additional 11 during last Friday’s Badge Pinning Ceremony.
Galveston Fire Chief Jeff Smith presided over the ceremony which also included achievement awards to past Fire Chief Mike Varela, Sr. and Firefighter Bryan Lee. Firefighter Bryan Lee provided exemplary service and care to the families of injured firefighters from Bryan, Texas during their stay on the Island.
The following individuals had their badges pinned by family and friends during the ceremony at Moody Gardens:
- Jens Jensen, Jr. – Captain
- Joe Lloreda – Captain
- Tatana Ovalle – Captain
- Greg Riley – Captain
- Joe Eureste – Driver
- Stewart Goff – Driver
- Travis Hill – Driver
- Bryan Lee – Driver
- Martin Moses – Driver
- Jeff Pucciarello – Driver
- William Syers – Driver
- Chris Anderson – Firefighter
- William Andoe – Firefighter
- John Dieringer – Firefighter
- Richard Hiller – Firefighter
- Jasyn Jeffries – Firefighter
- Steven Kirsner – Firefighter
- Chris Malbrough – Firefighter
- Jeremy Morris – Firefighter
- Davide Secci – Firefighter
“We are proud of you and encourage you to keep each other safe” remarked City Manager Michael Kovacs. “The City of Galveston appreciates that you are the ones who run into the face of danger when all others flee from it.”
Fire Station #4 Grand Opening & Open House
Fire Station #4 Grand Opening
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 3 – 5 PM
8700 Cessna Drive – Scholes International Airport
This week the City will celebrate the opening of Fire Station #4 at Scholes International Airport. The public is invited to tour the station on Tuesday, February 19 from 3 – 5 PM, enjoy refreshments and visit with representatives from the Galveston Fire Department and key staff involved with both the engineering and construction of the station.
Fire Station #4 was completely rebuilt after Hurricane Ike using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster funds and was designed to meet the needs of the community as well as emergencies specific to air traffic. The almost 14,000 square foot facility serves as the primary fire and rescue support for island residents and the nearby Scholes International Airport.
“We are thrilled to introduce this state of the art fire facility to Galveston residents” reports Galveston Fire Chief Jeff Smith. “Completion of this project allows us to continue protecting and serving Galveston with technology to match the department’s level of commitment and expertise.”
Fire Station #4 Opening Soon!
The new Fire Station #4 will open in the coming weeks. Fire Station #4 is located at Scholes International Airport in Galveston and was destroyed during Hurricane Ike's storm surge. Crews are currently putting the finishing touches on the shiny new state-of-the-art station!
Galveston Public Servants Remember 9/11
Members of the Galveston Fire, Police, and EMS departments on Tuesday held a ceremony remembering the 11th anniversary of the terrorists attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Firefighters and police gathered at city hall for a bagpipe-led procession to the Eugenia and George Sealy Pavilion at 24th Street and Sealy Avenue, where about 100 people attended.
The ceremony included prayers and tolling bells honoring the people killed Sept. 11, 2001, when planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, in a Pennsylvania field and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
The ceremony was led by Gilbert Robinson, Galveston’s fire marshal, and included a speech from Mayor Lewis Rosen.
Story courtesy Chris Paschenko/The Daily News