DIXON – Seconds after Dixon Rural Fire Chief Norris Tucker was given an ax that commorated his retirement, a call came over the radio, and a handful of firefighters began to put on their gear.
The nearly 75 guests at the firehouse were told to sit tight as a department vehicle made its way out of the house to go along with an ambulance. Even before the sirens had faded into the distance, Tuesday night's ceremonies were underway again.
Norris, who will officially retire at the end of the month, has been fire chief for 7 years. The crowd of fellow firefighters and residents gathered to send him off after more than 30 years as a firefighter. They they watched as current Assistant Fire Chief Sid Aurand was pinned as fire chief.
Firefighter Isaac Dimmig was also pinned as a captain during the ceremony.
"I'm going to do whatever I want to do," Norris said of this plans for retirement. "My wife passed away 15 months ago. She retired in June and died in January. She didn't really get a retirement, and I said I don't want to do that.
"I want to enjoy my grandkids, like she was. I'm just going to enjoy life."
Aurand has been at the department for 18 years. He knows the department and the firefighters. He's also helped Norris with the budget and policies, and is looking forward to the challenge of the job.
"I was born and raised here," Aurand said. "We have a great group of people, so it's going to be easy to lead these guys."
Among the first challenges he'll face when he takes over the department June 1, he said, is that soon the department will have to buy new equipment and find ways to fit it into the firehouse.
He also said he'd like to expand the training for the department in some areas, and encourage the firefighters go to officer development to help advance their careers.