CES Fire Marshall Hale retires with high honors

CES Fire Marshall Hale retires with high honors

After 40 years of responding to “May Day” calls this May 1st was the final day for CES Fire Marshall Gary Hale to answer those calls. In firefighter tradition the flag that flies over the house where the first responder spends his last day of duty is presented with full honors due the career of dedicated service. So it was Saturday, May 3rd when off duty CES personnel in dress uniform, dignitaries, friends and family gathered at the Soldotna High School auditorium for an official ceremony to honor retiring Fire Marshall Gary Hale and his wife Sharon. “Retiring is always a special day in your life, but when you get a send-off like this from you own department it’s very meaningful and greatly appreciated. To hear the dedications and stories from my colleagues was emotional and originally I thought I’d just slip out and into anonymity. But after 24years in this community like Chief Mokracek told me you can’t just sneak out the door and not let those folks express their appreciation and it was a very moving day for Sharon and me,” Hale told the Dispatch in an interview.

“We can actually document lives that have been saved due to the programs and impact Gary has had on this community. Not just in the hundreds of children that he has taught fire safety to through the in-school and public event puppet shows, but the low fire bonding we have here in Soldotna is a dollar and cents tribute to his work as Fire Marshall,” said CES Chief Chris Mokracek. “The fire service is a career it’s not a job, it’s a career, a passion that you need to embrace and excel at, everyday being the best firefighter you can and training to be better, so retirement isn’t something you look toward as a goal, but you know when that comes. It’s a lifetime commitment and just like there is no such thing as an ex-marine, there is no such thing as an ex-firefighter and Gary certainly embraces that sense of career after 40 years he has earned this tribute today,” said Chief Mokracek.

Hale will stay in the community with his wife Sharon who serves at Redoubt Elementary and says he has no specific plans for the future except to be a bigger baseball and Chicago Cubs fan, “It’s only been 48 hours so right now it only feels like a day off and hasn’t hit me yet, but they tell me it will and I’m looking forward to the feeling. I’ve been asked to do some volunteer work, but my wife Sharon is the professional volunteer and that’s her gig but I have a baseball trip planned this summer to watch some games in Seattle and California to see some games with one of my sons and as my retirement gift the family gave me a unique Chicago Cubs firefighters hat and I think I’ll take it along because I’m sure no one else will have one,” he said. Hale was also presented with a plaque for distinguished service from Assistant State Fire Marshall Lloyd Nakno and a silver firefighters ax from his colleagues at Central Emergency Services.

CES Fire Marshall Hale retires with high honors
CES Fire Marshall Hale retires with high honors

More in News

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Earthquake Center provides information on a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that struck at approximately 8:18 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. The quake struck approximately 17 miles southeast of Redoubt volcano or 41 miles southwest of Kenai, Alaska, at a depth of 72.8 miles. (Screenshot)
Quake near Redoubt shakes peninsula

The quake was centered 41 miles southwest of Kenai.

From left, John Walsh, John Skelton and Pat Broaders perform at the annual Winter Concert of Traditional Irish Music at Kenai Peninsula College in Kenai, Alaska, on Jan. 24, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Irish musicians return to peninsula

John Walsh, Pat Broaders and Brenda Castles will perform Friday

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters during a news briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. Dunleavy said he doesn’t see his acceptance of former President Donald Trump’s endorsement as hurting his relationship with the state’s senior U.S. senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict Trump at his impeachment trial last year and whom Trump has vowed to fight in her reelection bid. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer,File)
Dunleavy says work with Murkowski endures despite Trump nod

Trump last month praised Dunleavy and offered his endorsement, provided that Dunleavy does not endorse Murkowski

The Homer City Council asks Jan Keiser, Public Works Department director, questions about the Homer Green Infrastructure Management System during the Jan. 10, 2022, worksession. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Letting nature do what it does best

New green infrastructure project to solve drainage issues

Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel and Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speak at the Kenai City Council meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Due to COVID spike, state funds to be used to cover city administrative leave

COVID cases are up 38% from last week, and have risen significantly since mid-December.

Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce is photographed at the Kenai Peninsula Clarion office in Kenai, Alaska, on Sept. 25, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Pierce joins race for governor

The borough mayor notified local officials in an email Thursday

Laura Dewey’s art is on display at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Art of the wild

New Kenai visitor center show features the vivid colors of nature

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, Jan.19, 2022, in Washington. In a rebuff to former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court is allowing the release of presidential documents sought by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)
Supreme Court allows Jan. 6 committee to get Trump docs

Following the high court’s action, there is no legal impediment to turning over the documents

Most Read