Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department Driver Michael "Mike" Mitchell hung up his helmet Thursday after 29 years of service.
Mitchell began his career at MFRD as a Firefighter in November 1987. He credits Retired City Manager Clyde Fite for the chance to serve his community. "He is the one who encouraged me to submit an application," said Mitchell.
Promoted to Driver in November 2000, Mitchell says the greatest things about working for MFRD are the friendships he has made and the opportunity to protect the lives and property of Murfreesboro residents. In 1988, there was a fire at LeBeau Chateau Apartments. Mitchell will never forget that call.
"I carried a man out of his burning apartment," Mitchell recalls, a move that saved the man's life.
Perhaps the biggest changes Mitchell has seen over the years are the growth in the department, the level of professionalism, and the introduction of medical services. When asked what he anticipates for the department in the next 10-15 years, he replied, "The continuous professional and technical training will put MFRD as one of the top Fire and Rescue departments in the state of Tennessee."
Mitchell is very grateful to the other MFRD Firefighters (past and present) that helped him over the span of his career. "I could not have made it without each and every one of them."
He also reflected on his earlier days in life, particularly a time when a teacher he had at Oakland High School looked him right in the eyes and said, "'Son, you'll never see your 25th birthday if you keep down the path you are headed."
"Little did she know, Jesus had his umbrella over me even when I didn't know him," said an emotional Mitchell. That umbrella he speaks of is the love and support of his brother and sister Firefighters and his family. "Joining the MFRD has been one of the best blessings of my life."
Post-retirement, Mitchell plans to spend more time with family. "I'm going to assist in caring for my ailing mother," he said, and also added, "and whatever my wife asks me to!"
Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks had this to say about Mitchell's retirement, "We absolutely wish Mike the best of luck in his retirement. We appreciate his many years of faithful service to his community and are delighted that he will be able to spend more time with his first family now, though this MFRD family will miss him greatly!"