Dozens of people gathered to wish former Franklin Fire and Rescue Chief Pete Haithcock a fond farewell last Friday at a retirement reception held at Town Hall in his honor.
After a total of 34 years of working at the department, starting as a regular fireman, Haithcock officially retired from a long career with a reputation for leaving his post in top notch condition. For the last 15 years, he has reigned as chief of the department.
“On behalf of Franklin Fire and Rescue, we appreciate Pete and the efforts he’s made for the town and the department,” said Warren Cabe, Haithcock’s successor. “Obviously I can fill his office and his duties, but I can never fill his shoes. We wish him the best in his retirement.”
Cabe, who before taking over at FFR worked as County Fire Marshal for many years, has worked with Haithcock for more than a decade. As Cabe has stepped in to take on his new role as Chief, he trained with Haithcock for approximately three months.
“I appreciate everything you’ve done for me as well,” remarked Cabe of his training. “The responsibility doesn’t go away at the end of the day, or when you’re on vacation. One accomplishment I can say, is that for 15 years, all of our people have gone home at the end of their shifts.” Cabe lauded Haithcock for a job well done in keeping the firefighters safe.
Many town officials and employees who had worked with Haithcock over the years attended the reception, remarking on the advancement of the department under his guidance.
“We continue to modernize and continue to grow,” said Franklin Mayor Joe Collins. “A lot of this is due to your contributions.” Collins then presented Haithcock with a plaque of his exemplary service on behalf of the town.
“I respect his commitment to Franklin Fire Department,” said FFR Chaplain Joe Suminski, who has worked with Haithcock for seven years, but has known him for 20. “I think he has always had the best interests of the department in mind. I would say he’s passed a healthy department on to the new chief … He will be missed.” After extensive reminiscing and receiving gifts at the celebration, Haithcock then addressed those in attendance.
“It’s been a privilege to work for the town over the years,” said Haithcock. “I appreciate the Town of Franklin and the firemen I have worked with for everything they’ve done … It’s been such a great organization.” Haithcock went on to congratulate the department for its dedication to excellence and public safety. “You really do work hard every day.”
Haithcock will be spending a lot more time at home now that he has retired.
After beginning work with FFR in August of 1976, Haithcock started at the bottom and worked his way up to chief 15 years ago. In that amount of time, the dedication required of him on the municipal level has earned him a “Honey Do” list from his wife Henrietta “five miles long,” she joked.
But he will not vanish completely with his retirement. Haithcock will continue to volunteer for FFR, work with the National Guard, and maintain his position on the Macon County Airport Authority. “I’ll still be around,” he said.