PHOTOS: After a remarkable 56-year firefighting career, including the last six years in Pine-Strawberry, Gary Morris is officially hanging up his gear and retiring.
Morris signs off as chief of the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department (PSFD) on Monday, Nov. 2.
Morris initially thought he was just filling in temporarily in May 2014 while the fire board looked for a new chief.
However, finding qualified personnel in a remote and rural location proved to be a challenge, and Morris and the board agreed that he would stay on as chief.
“I’ve always liked being fire chief,” said Morris. “To end a 56-year career in a small fire district is like returning to your family after a long trip.”
Morris started his career as a volunteer firefighter at 16 in West Virginia in 1964.
“Being around adult men as a teenager matured me quickly,” he said.
He then worked as a firefighter and crew chief in the Air Force before becoming the assistant chief in Phoenix.