A fitting send off for a local High River hero last week.

Firefighters escorted Fire Chief Len Zebedee home after his final day of work with a parade featuring fire trucks, lights and sirens on.

Zebedee says his career has been very special.

"Over the years, when people are having the worst days of their life, we are there to help them and I think that is very rewarding.

Along the way he has seen a lot of changes.

"When I started in late October in 1974, we had a siren, we had fire phones stationed in firefighters homes," said Zebedee.

The phones didn't have a dial, they had a button and you would push the receiver to talk and take down the information.

"You would push the button which would in turn set off the siren off and when you heard the siren you would all congregated to the hall as quickly as you could."

The address they were going to was most likely just the name of the person who owned the property so the firefighters got to know where everyone in town lived.

"Off we went. Those were interesting times."

In 1975 the department got their first set of rescue tools and firefighters were finally able to go out onto the highways and rescue people from motor vehicle collisions.

"That was very rewarding for everybody that was involved in that, being part of that, knowing we could go out and rescue people out of motor vehicle collisions and that is ongoing today."

Before 1975 the funeral homes would use their cars or the police would drive injured people to the hospital.

'We have come a long ways."

Zebedee adds the fire department has grown along with the town.

"We have come a long way. We had very old equipment and now we have very good equipment. Thanks to our council."

His advice to the incoming chief?

"There is always lots of challenges. Hopefully he can move forward with things we have set up already. I am sure he will make changes as he sees necessary to make the department stronger and better and move forward as the town grows."

The department has 12 full-time firefighters and one fire inspector and admin assistant and 46 paid on-call staff.

They now have firefighters working 24 hours a day which was something council wanted to see after the flood, so there is always a captain and three firefighters on duty 24/7.

Fire Chief Len Zebedee Hanging Up His Helmet - Part On

Retiring Fire Chief Len Zebedee Reflects on 2013 Flood - Part Two 

len zebedee retirement 002 may4 2017

len zebedee retirement 003 may4 2017

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