GREENVILLE — Colleagues at Greenville, Ohio, Fire Department paid tribute to their retiring assistant fire chief with a horn-honking, 16-mile ride to his New Paris, Ohio, home on Thursday.
As well, family, friends and coworkers were on hand to bid farewell to Assistant Fire Chief Dave McDermitt as he boarded a Greenville Fire Department engine to take a “final ride home” and begin his retirement.
McDermitt has been involved with fire fighting since 1984, starting as a volunteer with the West Manchester, Ohio, Volunteer Fire Department. From 1989 to 1991, he was a fire fighter with the City of Eaton, Ohio, Fire Department. He started his professional fire service career at Greenville Fire Department June 3, 1991.
McDermitt attained the rank of captain in September 2001, and was named assistant fire chief in December 2002.
Looking back at his career, McDermitt said his time at Greenville afforded him a great many opportunities, including four trips for education to the National Fire Academy in Emmittsburg, Maryland.
“Those classes included topics on Arson Investigation, Court Room Testimony and Preparation, Training Program Management, and Fire Prevention Program Management, all of the training greatly enhanced my ability to perform my duties for the City of Greenville,” he said.
“I have met so many people throughout the fire service in the State of Ohio and the nation as a whole, one thing is for certain — they are all dedicated passionate professionals willing to do what ever it takes to get the job done,” he added.
Not all memories are pleasant as McDermitt leaves behind his helmet, boots and badge.
“In my career I have seen a lot of things that could have been prevented, to include the ultimate, loss of life, loss of homes, and loss of personnel property. Fires are devastating, not just for the person having the fire, but for the fireman fighting the blaze as well. I feel blessed that in all of my firefighting experiences I never had a serious injury,” he said.
Though his final ride home on Thursday was not likely to be interrupted by a fire call (as on-duty crews stayed put, just in case), McDermitt reflected on how his choice to be a fire fighter often put a damper on time with his family.
“A lot of sacrifices by my family have been made for me in my career in the fire service to include not being home for dinner, holidays, birthdays, and, well, you get the picture. But they have supported me all the way. My wife, children, parents, and brother have all shown me how resilient and understanding they were of when the alarm sounded, I had to go.”
McDermitt says he has no set plans for retirement but looks forward to it and “the quiet that accompanies it.”
“I do not have any plans at present, just enjoying my time getting my “Honey-Do” list completed, getting wood cut for the winter, spending time with family and close friends, just relaxing and knowing that at any moment now, I will not be having to answer the next alarm or emergency,” he explained.
Greenville Fire Department Chief Mark Wolf said, “We have worked together since he was promoted to Assistant Chief in 2002 on many projects and at many fires and other incidents. Assistant Chief McDermitt has a well-known reputation for fire safety through code enforcement. He has been recognized for this many times, most recently by being name Fire Code Official of the Year by the Ohio Building Officials Association. This is a great achievement that he can be proud of. He is routinely called upon by his peers for Fire and Building Code related questions due to his extensive knowledge of both.”
“I personally wish him the best in retirement and hope that he is able to spend time with his family and doing the things he likes to do when not at work,” Wolf added.
McDermitt saved his final “Thank You” for his fellow fire fighters in Greenville.
“The Greenville Fire fighters are hard-working professionals, and I am privileged to have served with all current and retired members of this great department,” he said.