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Hall Deputy Fire Chief Elliot Bowles makes his start during a pandemic
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New Hall County Fire Services' Elliot Stoney Bowles is a month into the new job as deputy fire chief. His first day was March 30 during the coronavirus outbreak - photo by Scott Rogers

Elliot “Stoney” Bowles said he sees himself finishing his lengthy career in Hall County, though his start came at an unusual time. 

Bowles, the new Hall County Fire Services deputy chief, had his first day March 30 while many Hall County facilities were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“You want to integrate yourself with the culture as quickly as possible. It’s been difficult to do that just simply because of COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place (order), so it’s really been a lot of phone conversations,” Bowles said.

He has been on video conference calls to introduce himself and sent his personal cell phone number in a department-wide email.

Bowles is in his 37th year in fire services, with many of those notches coming at the Cobb County Fire Department. Beginning in 1984 and earning the “Most Outstanding Fire Recruit” honors the following year, Bowles ascended to battalion chief before leaving in 2015 to become the Covington Fire Department chief.

In 2018, he was hired as the Cherokee County Fire Services’ health and safety officer. He spent 18 months in Cherokee County before taking the job in Hall County.

Bowles said he saw Hall County Fire Services as “an opportunity to join an organization that was experiencing some change … that all looked to be from the outside to be very positive.”

“Most of us that get in the fire service, we had some sort of group dynamic background, whether we played on a team or we were in the military or whatever, and you’re always wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” he said.

Bowles said he felt the position allows him to be connected with the station staff. The new deputy fire chief noted the county’s tremendous growth potential, particularly on the southern end.

“That potential for this county to grow and to be able to be with an organization to help set their direction for the next 20 to 30 years was very, very attractive for me,” Bowles said.

The question Bowles gets frequently: Where did the name “Stoney” come from?

The answer is the 1960s TV Western “Stoney Burke,” portrayed by Jack Lord.

"Stoney has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this industry," Hall County Fire Chief Chris Armstrong said in a news release. "Even though our men and women in the field aren't able to see him face to face right now, his wisdom and guidance are still being felt and will only continue to strengthen our leadership team moving forward."

Cherokee County Fire Services public information officer Tim Cavender echoed Armstrong’s comments about Bowles’ fire service knowledge.

“He kept his door (open) all the time for any firefighter to come in to talk to him about something,” Cavender said.

Bowles has been married to his high school sweetheart, Sheri, for 37 years, and the couple have two grown children.

He described the family as foodies and Disney fanatics who go at least once per year. They also enjoy taking weekend or one-day road trips and are committed to their faith.