WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s the end of an era for one long-time member of the Watertown Fire Department, Deputy Fire Chief Russell Randall.
“And so, today we mark time as we congratulate Deputy Chief Russ Randall on retirement after serving the citizens of the City of Watertown for nearly 30 years,” said Watertown Fire Chief Dale Herman.
Randall started his career in 1990 and said it was the only job he ever wanted.
“I’ve wanted to be in the fire service since I was in kindergarten. I first walked down to what was then Curtis Street Fire Station and got to see the fire trucks and talk to the firefighters and look at the red trucks with the brass bells," said Randall.
Randall was named deputy fire chief in September of 2010.
Shortly before that, Dale Herman became the department's fire chief.
Herman says Randall made up for everything Herman lacked.
“I realized, you know, where some of my strengths and weaknesses were and knew that I wanted to find a deputy that was strong in those areas that I had weaknesses in," said Herman.
And after nearly 10 years of working side by side, a friendship formed.
“He’s been a true friend; throughout the years that he’s been here. More so than when he was just a firefighter and I was just a firefighter,” said Herman.
In 2004, the American Legion Post 61 in Watertown named Randall Firefighter of the Year.
He earned the award for his leadership while battling the North Country Battery Fire on State Street.
“He was in charge of a number of firefighters that made a stand there to make sure the fire didn’t affect the dry cleaning business,” said Herman.
Randall says battling the blaze took a team effort.
“I was the guy that got picked out of 40 guys. There were 40 of us there doing the job at a minimum, along with mutual aid departments at that particular fire,” said Randall.
But, he still appreciates the award.
“Any time that, you know, you can be recognized as a representative of those people that are there, that’s an honor,” said Randall.
Randall says he doesn't have concrete plans for his retirement.
But, there's a chance he'll be at the fire department again.
“I might come in for a cup of coffee and see how things are going. It could happen,” said Randall.
According to Chief Herman, no one has been chosen to replace Deputy Chief Randall as of now.