Gary Lamons was all smiles Friday at the Sylvester Powell, Jr., Community Center, packed as it was with friends and colleagues wishing him a happy retirement.
Lamons, who took over as Consolidated Fire District No. 2 Fire Chief in May 2013, hung up his helmet and axe June 30 after nearly four decades in the fire service.
“It’s a younger man’s game,” he said. “You figure, my knees are still good, there’s good guys all around you to step up, it’s time.”
Lamons started his career in the fire service as a volunteer in his home town of Shawnee in 1976, stepping into a family tradition. His father served 53 years as a volunteer firefighter in Shawnee, and his brother and son did stints with that department as well. In 1986, he moved to Consolidated Fire District No. 2 and started his professional career.
Lamons said his favorite memories of firefighting go back to those early days.
“You didn’t do it for money or really for anything but the camaraderie and that you were doing something for the community,” he said. “Those are some of the best times.”
As for retirement, Lamons and his wife plan to put some miles on their RV.
“Mostly we’ll be heading to the lake at first,” he said. “But I’d like to get down to the Gulf Coast and to visit my parents at their place in Arizona.”