SPANISH FORT – The city of Spanish Fort recognized Fire Chief Roger Few for 40 years of service on Monday, Sept. 20 with awards from the city and department and a surprise proclamation.
At the City Council meeting, Mayor Mike McMillan asked Few to come to the podium for a city announcement about Fire Safety Week in the first week of October. McMillan then announced that the city was recognizing him for his service since 1981.
“We got him. Chief, thank you from all of the citizens of our city,” McMillan said. “What you do for our city. We all recognize it. We appreciate you very much. Forty years of service, that’s untold in today’s world and all I can do is on behalf of the council thank you for all you’ve done.”
Event organizers arranged for Few’s family to come to the meeting without telling the chief. Department members were also at the meeting.
Few said he was surprised by the announcement.
“I certainly appreciate it,” Few said. “You caught me off guard and I don’t have much to say, but it’s been a pleasure to serve 40 years.”
Few, a native of Spanish Fort, joined the department as a teenaged volunteer in August 1981. He served 28 years before being named chief. He also served as a paramedic and one of first primary emergency medical services responders for newly commissioned rescue trucks for Mobile Fire Department, according to the resolution. He was also director of operations for Mobile area with EMS provider American Medical Response Inc.
After the meeting, Few said the department has grown with the city since he first joined. At one time, the department might have 10 to 15 calls in a month. It now responds to more than 100.
“When moved to the current fire station we thought we were pretty well off. We had a pretty big fire station that had indoor plumbing,” Few said after the meeting. “But now, we’ve outgrown that building and hopefully we’ll have another station before much longer.”
Assistant Chief John Shoemaker said Few pushed the department and firefighters but had helped make the group one of the best in the area.
“Chief Few is a tough chief. I think I quit three times a few years ago,” Shoemaker said. “Then I went to a chiefs’ conference in Tuscaloosa, and they talk about new innovative ideas and all that and I realized we were doing all that. We’re doing everything that everybody else wants to do. So, I really commend him for that. He’s tough, but he’s tough not for himself, but for the organization and there’s a difference.”