By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
The Flash Today
ERATH COUNTY (February 19,2016) — Not many folks can claim they ever saw Stephenville’s Randy Spikes sit still for very long, because he was always a person who stayed busy.
Thursday, a man beloved and known by so many finally took a break after he was called Home following complications of a triple bypass heart surgery. Unless you really knew “Spikes,” you probably were not aware he suffered from diabetes, or that he had heart stint surgery more than a decade ago.
To say Spikes was a hard worker is a huge understatement.
From frontline firefighter to 40 years later retiring as a Battalion Chief with the Stephenville Fire Department – He also worked a decade during that time for the Tarleton State University Police Department. Adding to that, he may have driven you or your children home on the school bus.
Randy Spikes was fair in all weathers — a man who greeted you with a smile, a twinkle in his eye and a bear-like handshake that could make your knees crumble. And yet he was a gentle giant who wouldn’t hesitate to drop what he was doing and offer a fire department tour to a wide-eyed child.
Spikes and current Stephenville Fire Chief Jimmy Chew “grew up” together in the department and were partners until promotions aligned them with new duties and responsibilities.
Spikes was hired by the city of Stephenville via a federal grant in December 1975. The grant allowed for the creation of a new position with the promise the city would later pick up the cost of salary and benefits. In October of the next year Stephenville was very pleased with Spikes’ work performance and he became a full-time city employee.
Firefighting was a lot different in 1976 than it is today. Stephenville’s fire chief was a volunteer while the fire marshal was the paid “head” of the department. The department’s range of operation was a lot greater too, as current Chief Jimmy Chew explains.
“Back then we also fought fires out in the county and often with a two-man crew,” Chief Chew recalled.
That could lead to complications when you have a limited supply of water and only two firefighters to dispense it.
“Randy and I were partners on a call out to Three Way. When we got there we found we had a fully engaged house,” Chief Chew said. “Some guys from either Fort Worth or Dallas, who were career firefighters, drove by and offered to help. One of them asked where he could hook the truck up to a fire hydrant and we told him 12 miles back in town. You know, those guys drove off and left us.”
Spikes would later become interested in the investigative portion of firefighting and attended the police officer academy at Tarleton State University. He left such a good impression as a student that he was offered a job upon graduation and began a carefully balanced double career.
“Randy lived and breathed the fire department,” Chief Chew said. “He simply loved what he did and before getting his second career going he was usually at the station when he was off.”
Despite all that work, Spikes was also member of the local Masonic Lodge and was involved in the Sons of the Confederacy reenactment group. A funeral schedule and associated services are pending.