By Ryan Berry
HOLLANSBURG — The career of Chief Trent Mote was celebrated on Sunday evening. Since 1980, Mote has been a fixture at the Hollansburg Volunteer Fire Department. On Jan. 29 he handed his radio in and said, “I’m done.”
Chief Mote had been with the department for over 42 years after beginning his tenure in August 1980. For well over half of those years he was the one other volunteers in the department looked to for leadership. He served as chief of the department for 28 years. Mote went through the Fire Academy in 1983 and earned his level 2 and EMT.
One could argue that serving the community is in his blood. His father, Doug, also served on the Hollansburg Volunteer Fire Department. Chief Mote shared that when he was of age, he was handed an application to become a firefighter. “It’s kind of a generational thing,” he said. He pointed to his two sons that are currently serving with the department, Tanner and Trevor.
Mote said his family has a long history in the Hollansburg area. His grandfather moved to the community in 1941 to run the local elevator. However, it wasn’t until Mote was in the first grade that his father moved to the community.
While others came and went, Chief Mote is happy to have served for as long as he did. He said, “I got to see people come on and grow. A lot of these guys here started out as 16- year-old kids. A lot of them are full-time paid firemen now (for other departments).” He pointed over to a couple of the firefighters that came to help celebrate Mote’s retirement. “They were 16-year-olds when they walked in with their moms to sign off to be with us. Now, they are family men, full-time professional firefighters and some of them took that path. That’s kind of cool. We got them jump started, but they always call this home.”
Since 1980, Mote believes everything about firefighting has changed except for the building. “The equipment has gotten larger. Things just got a lot better in operations over the past 40 years. It’s just much more of an organized system,” he said.
Although he has witnessed a lot of change in personnel over the years, he shared the current slate of officers has been around for about 10 years. He said, “They all click very well. I’ve been able to stand back and let them run the department. It’s not like I have to be here all the time. Just because I’m the chief doesn’t mean I have to be the command. Now, all of these guys can be command and fall into any place and any order and get the job done.”
Mote thought he had a few more years he could spend with the department, but he and his wife had been looking for lake properties and opportunity came open about 40 minutes from Hollansburg. Although he wanted to stick around to order a new truck, he said, “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].