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BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
The Flash Today
On December 1, 1970, Richard Nixon was president of the United States, McDonalds was still headed toward that first billion sold and Fire Chief Jimmy Chew began working for the city of Stephenville as a temporary 3-month hire in the fire department.
Monday night, 45 years to the day he started, Chew was recognized for his service before the Stephenville City Council by Mayor Kenny Weldon, who teased Chew a little about the length of his service before delivering a heart-felt thank you.
“I was really only supposed to be here three months,” Chew said. Chew at the time of his hiring was attending college locally at Tarleton and had no firefighting experience, but back in the day that kind of experience came on the job.
“I didn’t have any experience and that was something you gained while you were working,” Chew said.
Chew apparently learned quickly and pretty well because the guy he was filling in for didn’t come back to his job and the city didn’t hesitate when it came to making Chew a full-time employee. Chief Chew also applied some humor of his own, explaining he was very young when he went to work for the city.
Later when talking about his early time with the Stephenville Fire Department, Chief Chew mentioned some of the older equipment he dealt with, including a 1934 pumper truck. The city retired that pumper and sold it to a company in California that does wine tours.
Now Chief Chew is not planning on retiring anytime soon, but that 1934 pumper truck sold to Big Red Engine Wine Tours – the company’s owners have an announcement on their website they have “retired.”
The Flash Today has requested a sit-down interview with Chief Chew to expand a little on the history of his a career with the city.