Lakeland fire chief stepping down after 40 years with department


After 4 many years as Lakeland’s hearth chief, Gary Ballard is retiring. 

  • Lakeland hearth chief Gary Ballard stepping down after forty years with division
  • Metropolis of Lakeland is holding a particular retirement ceremony for him
  • Ballard joined division in Dec. 1977 as volunteer

And the group he has served for therefore lengthy is honoring him. 

Tuesday marked forty years of service for Ballard and at present, the town of Lakeland is holding a particular retirement ceremony for him. The ceremony can be at Hearth Station 1 at four p.m. 

Ballard stated the day is bittersweet. 

“I started my profession right here in December the 12, 1977,” stated Ballard, a Lakeland native who was 18 years previous when he noticed an indication in a retailer window for volunteer firefighters. “By means of that very small starting of that assembly, I actually discovered my ardour and that’s to do what firefighters do on a regular basis, to work with individuals and to have the ability to assist these in want.”

And for the final forty years, that’s what Ballard did. 

Alongside the best way, he labored his method by means of the ranks on the division, finally turning into chief in 2010. 

Beneath his administration, the hearth division grew tremendously and acquired the very best achievable public safety score. Nevertheless, Ballard stated its not the accolades he’ll keep in mind however the individuals he knew as his hearth household.  

“It is a very tight knit household group environment and it is rather very similar to a household,” he stated. “However I do know it is that point for me to go, it is time for me to start out a brand new chapter in my life and take a look at new horizons and when January of 18 comes round it is an entire new world for me.” 

Ballard stated he’s wanting ahead to spending time together with his household and performing some touring. 

Lakeland’s metropolis supervisor has appointed Douglas Riley to be the brand new chief. Riley previously served because the assistant chief of operations for the division. 



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