Firefighters retire after more than 40 years of service
More than 40 years is a long time to serve a community, but Mike Regnier and Jim Davis are more than happy they were needed for so long by the city of Marion’s Volunteer Fire Department.
Both Regnier, the city’s fire chief, and Davis are retiring this week after 44 and 42 years respectively — a term that surprises them both.
“I don’t know,” said Davis. “You just get on and you never figure out how to get off. As long as you feel that you can do it, and if you’re needed, you stay.”
The two were recruited onto the force the way most of its volunteers have been — through word of mouth.
Regnier’s father was Marion’s mayor and fire chief for the city’s shop. The fire chief spotted him helping out at the shop and asked Regnier if he would consider joining the city’s fire department.
“I said ‘yes,’ ” he said. “That’s how it all started.”
Davis said he decided to give the department a try after volunteering as a weather watcher.
The department trained them both on the job, as it does today, Regnier said. Marion’s City volunteer firefighters must:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Be a high school graduate.
- Live within the city limits or within a three- mile radius, of Marion.
- Maintain minimum physical fitness standards.
- Complete Firefighter I class within a year of joining the fire department.
- Complete a defensive driving course within a year.
Once a “young and healthy” recruit has expressed interest, they will become familiar with its vehicles and procedures.
Volunteers of the 17-member force agree attend training and to respond to emergency calls at a moment’s notice. Members are paid $15 a call.
Marion City Firefighters respond to about 130 calls a year, Regnier said.
Regnier says he has never had any trouble negotiating time off to serve on the force with a volunteer’s employer.
“They know it could be their house,” Regnier said.
Regnier and Davis both say they have fond memories of helping the public, learning to work together, and of the structures they were able to save.
Regnier he is confident the department will be just fine when he leaves.
“We have a really good force right now,” he said. “We have had some good young recruits and they do a very good job. That’s why we thought we could retire. We have a very good group coming in.”
Last modified Aug. 1, 2019