Before joining the Duncan Fire Department, Larry Sullins hadn’t stayed at any job for more than five years. But after spending 26 1/2 years at the fire department, Sullins is retiring as chief in Nov. 17.
“I’ve enjoyed the career of being a firefighter,” Sullins said. “It’s been exciting.
“I think it’s an occupation a lot of people would like to have, but they haven’t had the chance to be a firefighter.”
When he started with Duncan Fire Department, he was just a rookie firefighter. Throughout the years, he worked his way through the ranks.
He said the experience has been fun. When he started, the chance of making it on with the Fire Department were slim.
“When I applied for the position of firefighter in 1984, I tested against 125 other applicants,” Sullins said. “They chose three out of the 125. I couldn’t believe I was one of the three applicants chosen.”
Sullins was hired with Greg Wortham, who retired as captain, and Bobby Biffle, who is assistant fire chief for the department.
From there, Sullins tested and made driver in 1986, tested and made captain in 1995, tested and made major in 1998 and accepted the position of fire chief in 2006.
“Back when I was a kid, I couldn’t imagine being a firefighter and getting paid to do it,” Sullins said.
For now, Sullins is getting information together and passing that information along to his colleagues so they can be informed on Sullins was working on and what needs to be done.
“They can carry on until the position is filled,” Sullins said.
Being fire chief hasn’t been all fun for Sullins. He said it can be a lot of work.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Sullins said. “But it’s been rewarding. I’ve had a lot of support, which every person in a position like this can use to better their position to be more effective with public service.”
Sullins has started making plans for his retirement. He said he wants to get caught up with things around his house and take care of other business that’s been put off. He said he doesn’t plan to quit working. He said he would find ways to fill the time.
But nothing may take place of the Fire Department, he said. After all, he celebrated the five year mark nearly 21 1/2 years ago.
“I have lots of favorite memories,” Sullins said. “A lot of them involve the camaraderie with the other firefighters.
“There’ been classes and courses I’ve gotten to attend — the thrill of the job overall.”
For his family, Sullins’ departure from the Fire Department will be the end of era. Throughout his children’s lives, he has been a firefighter. He said it will be odd to set the job aside.
But it won’t be weird just for him. He said it would also be strange for his family, too.
“It’s kind of bitter sweet,” Sullins said. “They’ve seen me as fire chief for several years, but they understand that when I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go.”
Sullins has enjoyed his time at the Duncan Fire Department. He said he has enjoyed giving back to the community by helping to save homes and to save lives.
He said he still gets a rush whenever it’s time for a fire run.
“When the alarm’s going off, I still get that feeling,” Sullins said. “I want to jump up and respond.”
— Derrick Miller is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 144, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.