At age 50, Chad Black is looking at what path will come next after 31 years with Hall County Fire Services.
“You love what you do and you never really work a day in your life,” he said Friday. “I want the second career to be the same thing.”
The fire department held a reception for Black’s retirement Friday afternoon at the fire department’s headquarters, a gathering Black called “humbling” to see his co-workers from three decades of service.
“I can speak in front of thousands and it won’t bother me, but I tremble at the knees to think about being anywhere people are coming for me,” Black said.
Fire Chief Jeff Hood presented Black with his helmet at the ceremony, a tradition that Black said he has always appreciated for retiring firefighters.
Beginning with the department in February 1985, Black said he never imagined making it to top administration. Hood tapped Black to become the interim deputy fire chief in August 2014 before he was appointed in April 2015.
“I told him no twice, but that didn’t quite work out. He’s quite persistent,” Black said of the fire chief.
Climbing up the ranks of the department, Black recalled the earlier years with roughly 50 personnel working as the seventh fire station was opening. Today, the county has almost 380 personnel with 16 ambulances and 16 fire stations.
“Tremendous growth, and they’ve got a lot more to go,” Black said.
Black said he will continue working with Habersham County EMS and remain active with the Georgia Association of EMS and other committees.