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Gainesville fire departments 1st female ranking officer dies
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Debbie Truelove, a veteran of the Gainesville Fire Department and the department’s first female ranking officer, passed away Tuesday morning after a long battle with cancer.

Fire Chief Jerome Yarbrough remembers her as a dependable and dedicated public servant who was always willing to lend a hand.

“She was the rock of this department for years,” Yarbrough said. “She was someone you could always go to and always get an answer. Still even after she retired, she was one you could always go to.”

Truelove retired from the department in 2011, but continued to work as part of the North Jackson Volunteer Fire Department, where Yarbrough said she focused on helping the department stay up to date. She began her public service work in Gainesville as an administrative secretary and went on to earn the title of Gainesville Fire Department Support Service Division Chief after more than 20 years of service.

“We’re family here at the GFD and it takes a chunk out of you,” Yarbrough said. “She’s somebody that is hard to replace ... the importance and difference she made in a lot of people’s lives, not only as a co-worker, but out in the community.”