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For Jim Porter, the retiring Assistant Fire Chief from the Sweetwater Fire Department (SFD), it seems as if family has always been connected to his role--before, during and after his service.
For the past 35 years, Porter has served the community as a fireman; since 1986, he has been in the role of Assistant Fire Chief. However, during his stint, he was able to work alongside his father Ronald at the fire station.
In a phone interview, he shared that his father joined SFD in 1959 and remained there for around 25 years until the start of 1984. Porter came on in July 1977 and had the privilege of working together with his dad for six-and-a-half years.
But even beyond the fire department, the Porter men were also partners of a used car dealership at the same time. He recalled that when their shifts would change, they would give each other a recap of the day on the car lot.
Looking back, Porter said that a number of memories have remained in his mind from his time with SFD. Some weren't so pleasant, while others allowed him a brief moment of satisfaction.
Since his retirement, Porter says that he misses the opportunities he had, along with the camaraderie of his co-workers. He noted that--in this occupation--about one-third of his time was spent with his fellow workers.
Thus, it was vital to get along with them in that atmosphere. Thankfully, they did get along, and Porter said he missed working with such good guys and seeing them--recalling their good times of cutting up and fellowshipping.
In addition to his retirement, Porter has also been able to make another change. While he still has family living in Sweetwater, he and his wife Brenda just moved to the Metroplex area to be closer to his daughter Bradi's family, which includes spending more time with his grandchild. Porter also has a son, Alan, who lives in Portland, Oregon.
Some could say that his retirement might be short-lived, as Porter says he's looking at the possibility of getting a job, perhaps as early as this fall. For now, he says he plans on taking it easy this summer, enjoying his new house and pool while spending time with his family.
And for a man who's spent 35 years in a job of this magnitude, he's certainly deserving of it.