Winnie Anne Wright
December 27, 2013
Valdosta - It was a bittersweet day for Valdosta Fire Chief, J.D. Rice who will be retiring from The City of Valdosta Fire Department at the end of the month.
"I'm excited that I've reached this point in my career, after being a firefighter for 35 years. That part is exciting, but it's sad that I know this chapter of my life is coming to an end and I'll no longer be wearing a uniform every day.", says Rice.
The City threw a retirement party for Chief Rice that included guest speakers such as City Planner, Larry Hanson, and Valdosta Mayor John Gayle.
"You'll go through these doors one of these days and that will be the sad day, when you leave. And of course it will be a sad day for us because you've done a tremendous job here.", says Gayle.
Members of The Valdosta Fire Department honored Chief Rice with a flag that was flown over the Capitol in his honor and said the next Chief that comes to Valdosta will have big shoes to fill.
"The Chief is just a no nonsense type of guy. He has a favorite saying, 'don't worry about the mule, just load the wagon'. He believes in getting a lot out of his people. Even when we don't have everything we necessarily need, he always finds a way to get it done", says Ronald Skrine, Shift Captain for the Valdosta Fire Department.
Chief Rice says he is looking forward to retirement and getting to spend more time with his wife and grand children.
His official retirement day is December 31, but he will remain interim Fire Chief until The City of Valdosta hires a replacement.