It was last fall that long-time Walton County Fire Chief Mike Moore made it known that he was ready to retire and January 2019 was the month he would be bowing out.
“It’s been 31 years, I think it’s about time,” he said.
Friday, his crews, fellow Walton County employees, friends and some family gathered at Walton County Fire Rescue headquarters in Between for a farewell presentation to a fire chief who had given so many years of service to County residents. And for that service, Walton County Commission Chairman Kevin Little announced that WCFR headquarters, Walton County Fire Station 2 in Between, would be named after the retiring chief.
“We’re here in this brand new station that was built by SPLOST dollars and from now on this building will be called Chief Mike Moore Fire Facility,” Little said, adding he didn’t believe in waiting until someone was dead to honor their service. “I just feel like it is an honor and well deserved to name this building for Mike. I know his name is really Robert Mike, but everybody calls him Mike, so whatever he wants it to be that is what we’ll put on the front. But we think that it’s well deserved because WCFR, the fire department and fire services, is what it is today because of Chief Moore.”
What WCFR is today is a fully-fledged department with 11 fire stations with a crew of 40 volunteer firefighters, 54 career fire and support staff and 62 part-time personnel servicing about 300 square miles of unincorporated Walton County. The latest fire stations include one at Jacks Creek Road (Station 19) and Highway 81 (Station 3 – which replaces old station 12 and old station 3). There also is a temporary one at Hard Labor Creek where the new station will house a boat for the Walton County Special Ops Dive Team. As well as responding to fires, the department provides services to the county’s residents through Emergency Medical Care, auto extrication, hazardous material response, and now the special ops dive team.
Heading up all this now is new Walton County Fire Chief Kevin Haney. At the retirement celebration, Haney presented Moore with a special gift from him and the other firefighters. He thanked Moore for his service and for the opportunities afforded him while working with the now-retired chief. When Moore spoke, he, in turn, praised his crew and gave them the credit.
“I was just one little piece of the puzzle. This whole section over here is the whole section that made my job easy, and miserable,” he joked, but he got a little emotional when he thanked his wife for being there for him all the years. “My wife, I couldn’t have done any of it without her. What I endured, she endured two-fold.”
Moore was the featured Community Leader in the 2018 Fall Winter issue of Walton Living Magazine. Click or tap on this link for an in-depth look at Moore and his years of service to Walton County.