ENID, Okla. — Enid Fire Department Chief Joe Jackson will retire in the fall after 34 years with the department.
Jackson, who became chief on Jan. 6, 2012, decided about one week ago that he would retire Nov. 1, just a couple months shy of his 10-year anniversary of becoming chief.
Even though he wanted to make it a full 35 years before retiring, he said the timing just looked right.
“The pension system had a really good year on the interest, and things are falling in line the way you want life to go,” Jackson said. “Age and health are factors because the older you get, the more chances you have of having health issues.”
Jackson began his career with EFD on Nov. 1, 1987. He said he had never dreamed of becoming a firefighter, but he just stumbled into it and realized soon after starting that this is what he wanted to do with his life.
Earlier this year, Enid Police Department Chief Brian O’Rourke also announced his retirement, which will come at the end of next month.
Jackson has a couple of unfinished physical projects he would like to complete, such as concrete replacement at a few of the stations, in his last few months with the department.
There are 12 people with EFD who are eligible for the role of chief, one of whom will be selected by the Fire Civil Service Commission, Jackson said. The application period ends Aug. 4, and written exams, interviews and presentations will come after. The results on the next chief should be in by Oct. 1.
“That gives me some time to educate them, and they can work with me (until Nov. 1),” Jackson said.
He said he’s enjoyed working with everybody over the past 34 years.
“I don’t think you could grab 80 guys — any better guys — to work with,” Jackson said. “It’s a good group, great personnel — makes my job even more enjoyable being chief. They make my job easy.”
Jackson said after he retires, he’ll probably find something to do part-time to keep busy, but leaving will be bittersweet. He spent seven years as assistant chief before becoming chief, and he loved both sides of the department.
“It’s been amazing, honestly,” Jackson said. “Thinking back 34 years, I couldn’t have done anything that made me more happy. I never dreaded coming to work one day.”