For nearly 30 years, house fires, auto accidents and fire hoses were a part of Bill Jones’s life.
On Wednesday, colorful banners, certificates and pieces of cake surrounded him as he sat in his neatly pressed white shirt and black slacks.
It was Jones’s last day of active duty as a battalion chief for Spokane Valley Fire District.
“It’s been a great career,” Jones said. “You’re always helping somebody out it seems. The best part is going to be the retirement, though.”
Firefighters, active and retired, paraded in and out of the conference room at Spokane Valley Station 1 and the phone rang with voices of congratulations on the other end.
“Well, it’s about time,” said retired chief Rod Tedrow as he joined the informal celebration.
Jones was hired as a firefighter in January 1966. He was promoted up through the ranks and became a battalion chief in June 1982.
He graduated from Central Valley High School in 1958 and has lived in the Valley most of his life.
Jones be on vacation for the next two months, using vacation time accumulated over the last two years. He does not officially retire until September 2, something he said he will have no trouble adjusting to.
“I think I’ll take about 20 minutes to get used to it,” Jones said, beaming.
After 29 years and eight months of answering when he is called, Jones plans to relax and enjoy himself. His hobbies include fishing, hunting and downhill skiing.
“I’m going to throw away my calendar, throw away my watch and come and go as I please,” Jones said.
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