Yadkin County Fire Marshal Eddie Weatherman will be retiring this month after serving the county for 29 years. Weatherman began his career in the fire service as a volunteer firefighter with the Arlington Fire Department, where he also served as assistant chief. In May of 1986, he took on the role of county fire marshal.
Weatherman said he is looking forward to retirement though he plans to still stay busy. He has a new grandchild, his first, so that will certainly be one thing to keep him busy.
Looking back over his 29-year career as fire marshal, Weatherman said there were ups and downs, but the camaraderie of those in the fire service and the things accomplished over the years is what he values most.
“Some of the better times is the fellowship that we have with the fire departments over the years,” he said. “Working together for a common cause, trying to help the public here in the county. If you look back, we’ve accomplished a lot of good things for the public here in the county.”
Insurance ratings and response times are two things Weatherman said the county fire departments have worked hard on through the years.
“I think Yadkin County we’ve been pretty much a forerunner in trying to keep up with things the state mandates. Trying to keep ahead to help the citizens of the county,” Weatherman said. “And we’ve done a lot of good things as far as our response procedures.”
Another thing he is proud of is the work the various fire departments do in outreach, especially for children, to teach fire safety.
“That’s important to reach the children, especially your smaller school-age children because they retain this information. As adults we don’t pay a lot of attention, but those kids pay a lot of attention and learn a lot. You see on the news many times where a child has saved the adults’ lives, waking them up or whatever, they retain it more than we do,” he said. “Of course, over the years we have had unfortunately some children to die in house fires, along with adults, and that really takes a toll on the fire departments too when we have something like that and on us too, all the responders. It’s certainly important each year to do the safety programs.”
Another part of the job that can take its toll, Weatherman said, is constantly being on call.
“You just don’t sleep sound, you’re always thinking, ‘am I going to miss a call,’” he said.
He said his wife teased him that he would probably be reaching for his pager out of habit for a good while after retiring.
“It’s going to be a change, but I’m looking forward to it,” Weatherman said.
Weatherman will continue to serve through the end of the month to assist new Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard is transitioning to the role.
Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal said he hated to see Weatherman go.
“He has worked very hard for Yadkin County in establishing the role of fire marshal,” Vestal said. “He will be missed by a lot of people. He was depended on by the fire departments and other county agencies. He’s done a great job over the past 29 years and even though I feel like Ricky Leonard will fit into this role very well, Eddie will be hard to be replaced and sorely missed.”
Vestal added that he wished Weatherman well in his retirement and next endeavors.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or Twitter @RippleReporterK.