Captains celebrate three decades of fire service
"Thirty years ago — think about that. What was life like 30 years ago?" asked Dave Nemeyer.
The Forest Grove Fire & Rescue fire marshal addressed a crowd of police and firefighters who'd gathered at the July 10 city council meeting to honor two of their public safety colleagues.
Capt. Joseph Smith and Capt. Mike Lanter were recognized for their 30 years of service to the city of Forest Grove. That official milestone actually occurred last year. The awards are traditionally celebrated after the 30-year mark, so the award is coming in their 31st year.
As Nemeyer introduced the captains, he described the era when they began their volunteer service as a time when "ice cold beer was still served after drills and smoking a cigarette while you did your morning checks was still an acceptable practice."
It was 1986 when the two walked through the doors of the Ash Street fire station for their first day as volunteers. Ten years later they were hired as full-time firefighters.
"They were newbies when I met them. Now they're mentoring their own newbies," said Nemeyer.
The captains received a standing ovation as they held their plaques, decorated with gleaming hatchets.