Two Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department Captains will be hanging up their fire gear in July; Captain Joe Barrett after 38 years of service, and Captain Randy Jones with 34 years of service.
The two announced their plans to retire earlier this year.
Barrett was hired as a Firefighter in October 1978. "Captain Robert Fulgum inspired me to be a Firefighter," said Barrett. "Him, and the two days off," he joked. Barrett was promoted to Driver in 1987 and Captain in 1999.
Jones' desire to join the department in September 1982 was more of a family affair. "My uncle, Graham Jones, and cousin, Richard Bowen, were working at MFD in the 60s and 70s," said Jones. "They encouraged my brother, Ricky Jones, and I to work here. I came to Headquarters once a week to meet with [then] Chief Bobby Swann, and one week, he asked me when I could start. I replied, 'right away!'" Jones was promoted to Driver in 1987 and Captain in 1988. His brother retired from MFRD as a Captain in July 2015.
Both agree that the best thing about working for the department has been their ability to help others and to foster several friendships with co-workers that have now become family. "A person who has friends is blessed," remarked Jones. "I will treasure the friendships I've made here for years to come."
The two Captains have also seen a lot of changes over the years, the biggest of those being the addition of medical services to the department. "We used to go to a house fire each shift," said Barrett. Due to MFRD's Fire Prevention efforts, those numbers have decreased significantly. "Now most of those calls have been replaced by medical calls," he said.
Jones anticipates seeing even more progression of medical services for the department in the next 5-10 years. "I also see more fire stations being built and a training facility with classrooms."
Each Captain was asked to recall their most memorable call; for Barrett, it was a lifeless infant being handed to him by the child's father. "The baby was not breathing. Performing CPR on an infant is something I will never forget." Captain Jones spoke about a fire call on Van Cleve Lane, "I remember the wind chill was about 30-40 degrees below and everything kept freezing up. Back then, we had no equipment to deal with extreme temperatures."
When asked what they plan to do after retiring, one common theme was spending more time with family. Barrett plans to enjoy traveling with his wife of 42 years, Carroll, and his favorite activities: hunting, fishing, and trapping. Jones said he will continue his work with the Murfreesboro Fire Firefighters Association (Local 3035). He will also stay busy on the Rutherford County Road Board. "I plan to do some traveling as well, and just enjoy life."
"These two men have been great assets to the department during their tenure," said Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks. "They have played a role in the development of department policies, acquisition and maintenance of equipment, and mentoring the younger generation Firefighters. They will truly be missed."