ABOVE: Back Row, Standing (L to R): Nell Spradling, Ronald Jones, Tracy Summar, Michael Bartlett, John Flynt, Randy Shaw, Carol Whitaker, Laurie Alsup, Kaye Jernigan, Allen Swader, Billy Vinson, Cumbey Gaines, Nicole Miller, Terry Smith, Mike Keith, and Bob Decker.
Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department Training Coordinator Billy Vinson was honored Thursday morning in recognition of his 40 years of service with the department.
Vinson surpassed the department’s modern-day years of service record of 39 years, which was held by Firefighter Joe Finney.
Vinson started his career with MFRD, when it was still Murfreesboro Fire Department, on May 1, 1974. “Firefighting was never in my thoughts until I moved to Murfreesboro [from Cannon County] and met my wife,” said Vinson. “Her father was Assistant Chief Herbert McCullough; he peaked my interested in the department.”
Vinson was the first person hired when the department elected to go to the 24 hours on/48 hours off shift schedule. “I was working a hard job [at Chromalox], said Vinson “and the 24 hours on and 48 off was appealing.”
“I learned to love it,” he continued. “Fires are fun to fight…the job is fun, and you’re making a living.”
Chief Cumbey Gaines presented Vinson with an engraved clock and said, “Thank you for the time that you’ve given this department. We thought we would give you some ‘time’ in return.” Vinson also received a plaque of MFRD’s most recent patch.
Several MFRD employees spoke about their experiences with Vinson over the years and the impact he has made on them and on the department as a whole. Outgoing Mayor Tommy Bragg thanked Vinson for his service to the department and the City of Murfreesboro, before thanking Vinson’s family members that were present for “sharing him for so many years.” City Manager Rob Lyons also offered his appreciation to Vinson for what he has accomplished over 40 years.
Vinson, who plans to retire later this year on July 3, said “I can’t even begin to express how blessed I am to have had this opportunity to work for the greatest fire department and greatest city in the world.”