Fire Chief reflects on career before retirement - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/17/09

Fire Chief reflects on career before retirement

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By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Friday is the final day for Lubbock Fire Chief Rhea Cooper. He retires after more than 30-years of service to the Hub City. NewsChannel 11 spoke with Cooper about his most memorable moments.

In 31-years you can imagine Chief Cooper has a lot of memories, but he says the best come from working with other fire fighters on the scene and at the stations. "You can go by any station today, and I can think of a story of things that might have happened with those individuals over the years, and I'll always remember those good times," Cooper said. 

The Lubbock City Council honored Cooper's service Wednesday. He began with the Lubbock Fire Department in 1978. During that time he received multiple certifications and the Medal of Valor.

Cooper told members that when they search for his replacement, they don't need to look far. "We have the best qualified people right here in the city of Lubbock that are able to do that. I just wish you would take that to heart," Cooper said. 

We also asked Cooper about his greatest accomplishments. Cooper says he's proud to have played a part in bringing the three newest fire stations to Lubbock, but he says his proudest accomplishment will benefit the city for decades.

"Getting a Class 2 ISO for the city, that rating is going to have a long time, I'm talking about a 20-year impact for this city that is positive. Also, the fact that I was able to be a part of helping rename the fire stations in memory of those fire fighters that have lost their lives in the line of duty," Cooper said. 

So what does Cooper hope for the department's future? Cooper says that he's really enjoyed his 31-years of community service, and he hopes his fellow fire fighters will have the same feeling.

"I would hope to see the people that are on the department right now be as happy in their careers as I've been," Cooper said.  Cooper tells us now, he plans to take it easy for a while, but he does plan to stay in Lubbock.

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