BRADFORD — The Bradford Fire and Rescue Department invite everyone to a retirement party for retired Capt. Jim Siders on March 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the fire department.
Everyone is welcome to come and wish him well in his retirement and share memories with him.
Siders said he actually turned in his papers and such the last part of October.
He cited health reasons and wanting to spend more time with his seven grandchildren as his reasons for hanging it up.
He has served as captain of the department for the past 20 years, but indicated he has been with the department for a little over 38 years.
He had also worked on the emergency squad as an EMT up until five or six years ago when he retired from that.
He said his most memorable fire was that of the Huelskamp dairy barn on Greenville Falls-Clayton Road.
“It was a big barn and fully involved when we got there,” said Siders, who said he was never injured in any fire he went out on. “I also remember the VFW burning down and the bowling alley fire, both in Covington. We’ve had so many.”
He has worked under Fire Chiefs Lowell Fashner, C.J. Hocker, Barry Brown and Jan Mottinger. As captain, he was in charge of training.
“When I was a little kid growing up in Versailles, I would always see Bill Harman take off for the fire station,” Siders said. “I always wanted to be a fireman.”
So, his dream was realized.
“I liked going on the fires,” Siders said.” For the last 10 to 15 years, I was in charge of the fires. That’s what you do when you’re ranking officer during the day.”
He served in the U.S. Army from 1975-79 in Germany and Texas. He has worked at Hobert Brothers in Troy, Corning Glass in Greenville, Greenville Technology and for Bradford Schools, where he a drove school bus and later was hired on as a full-time custodian, from which he retired six years ago.
A couple of years after he got out of the service he became friends with Alan Murphy, with whom he helped coach little league baseball.
“He urged me to get on the fire department and I did in 1981, right before our twins were born,” he said. “They came two weeks later.
He and wife, the former Sharon Abshire, are the parents of four daughters, Wendy Vore, Lindsay Cantrell, and twins Janielle Crickmore and Danielle Clack.
The couple had met through church, Webster United Methodist, and were married in 1977.
He is the son of the late Claude and Jane Siders, and has four siblings, Carl, who died in 1965; and Claude; Phyllis Cottrell; and Gladys Peeples.
“I grew up in Versailles and went to school there from kindergarten through tenth grade, and then went to live with my mom in Bradford, graduating there in 1975.”
In his retirement, he is going to continue attending their grandchildren’s sporting events and baby-sitting their youngest one who was recently born. He said they also have a junior, a sophomore, two eighth-graders, a third-grader and a first-grader.
Siders, who enjoys mowing yard, said he suffered a heart attack in 2003 after shoveling snow at home on a Level 3 emergency. He underwent open-heart surgery.
“As long as I’m active, I do all right,” said Siders, who will turn 64 on March 19.
Contact Staff Writer Linda Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (937)569-4315 ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.