Lieutenant Curtis Baron Gibson retired from the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department on June 20th, 2012. I don’t know when his last day on the books is exactly, but that does not matter. In all actuality, I would not have gotten to see Baron on his last day if it weren’t for some other guys telling me he was retiring. Once I found out, I immediately made plans to get by #5 to see Baron on his last day.
Baron, also known as “Smurf” or “Dude” throughout his career, is a great guy and a great lieutenant. I never had the pleasure of working with him directly, but we got to hang out during local IAFF functions throughout the years. I also saw him on the job when I was on C shift, even though we were on opposing sides of the tracks.
Baron was hired on June 11, 1984 and when he retired was probably in the top ten on the seniority list with 28 years on the job. He worked most of his career at firehouse 6 and was the “SCBA” guy for the city for years.
After 22 years at #6 he was moved to firehouse 5. I always thought the move was bullshit, but there were other factors at play bigger than little ole me.
According to Captain Wines (who wrote about Lt. Gibson here and in more depth), Baron got a good sendoff. I am glad to hear that even though most people didn’t realize he was leaving until he was gone. I guess Baron wanted it that way.
Some guys I work with might be wondering why I said “Icon” in the title of this post. I will tell you why.
Lieutenant Curtis Baron Gibson is one of those guys who won’t be forgotten too easily. He left a legacy in what he accomplished with ensuring our SCBA program was top-notch and up to par with his level of approval. He saw a need, realized a solution, and fixed the problem.
Roanoke’s Firefighters are safer today because of the work Baron did. On top of that, he was a great lieutenant (driver who acts when needed in our department).
I think why Baron and I got along so well is that we don’t sugar coat things. We both know how to get to the heart of the matter as quick as possible. We pull the bandaid on 2…why wait!
He is also one of the few who call me Heidi ( as in Fleiss…my last name is Fleitz). I didn’t mind it, at least they didn’t call me Smurf! ha.
Baron was one of the Lt.’s I looked up to for positives of how I want to be.
All of that is why Baron is an Icon in our department.
I look forward to having him over for lunch at the firehouse sometime soon.
Enjoy your retirement Smurf! You Deserve it.