Monday, February 14, 2011
Chief Norm Davis retired saturday
City firefighter calls it quits after 36 years
By Bob Kalinowski (staff writer)Published: February 13, 2011
WILKES-BARRE - Dedicated to the city fire department the past 36 years, Norm Davis didn't have a lot of time for hobbies.
That's about to change. One of five assistant fire chiefs in the city, Davis retired Saturday.
At the encouragement of his 5-year-old grandson, Davis plans to take up a new hobby: fishing.
"He wanted to learn, so I said, 'I'll go with you,'" Davis, 63, said Friday at his South Wilkes-Barre home.
While he looks forward to spending more time with his four grandchildren, Davis admits it's emotional to look back at his long career. He fought back tears Friday at his house when recounting his last day on duty last week. Fellow firefighters gave him a send-off with a big sheet cake.
"It's a tough thing to do after 36 years," Davis said. "I was a little shook up."
While he won't be fighting fires any longer, Davis said firefighting will always be in his blood.
"There were more good times than bad. There's a brotherhood," Davis said.
Davis still has a police/fire scanner working in nearly every room of his Kirkendall Avenue house.
Davis's wife, Barbara, noted he'll certainly miss the camaraderie of the fire house.
"He was happier there, than home. I'm not kidding," she joked. "The guys he worked with were good to him."
As he retires, Davis said he'll remember many of the major fires, including some fatal ones, in which he was the officer in charge.
"I've been in some scary spots - never been too heroic, never got in a position where someone had to drag my rear end out," he said.
Davis remembers a time when he led 25 firefighters on a shift. Now, that number is usually around 14. Despite the loss of manpower, he's confident in the continued success of the department, which includes his son, Ed.
"We have a great fire department. We have a good cadre of young people who are going to be the faces of the future," Davis said.
Norm was my first captain, back about....... a lot of years ago. He is the best. Period. His retirement is a huge loss to the department. He is cut from a cloth that people rarely see anymore.
Over the years I've seen Norm as many things, as a fire fighter, as my captain, as a chief, as a Marine (I don't hold that against him), and as someone to emulate. But mainly I know him as my Friend.
Happy Retirement Norm.
Dan Emplit WBFD