Lacy retires after thirty years with HCFD
By Monroe Roark
Bill Lacy’s 30-year run with the Henry County Fire Department, which began as a volunteer firefighter and eventually saw him named the department’s chief in 2011, was officially concluded Dec. 31.
Chief Bill Lacy accepts a proclamation from Chairman Tommy Smith at a celebration of his impending retirement held earlier this month. L. to r.: Henry County Manager Lyndon Bonner, Chairman Tommy Smith, Fire Chief Bill Lacy and District I Commissioner Bo Moss. Special photo
He received a proclamation from the Board of Commissioners at his retirement party and was thanked by many for his service.
Lacy’s first experience actually was as a member of the student-run EMS at University of the South in Suwanee, Tenn. He began as a Henry County volunteer in 1985 after moving to the area as a manager for the old Steak & Ale restaurant in Morrow. He joined the department full-time in 1986.
“I enjoyed volunteering so much that when an opening came up, I applied for it,” he said, adding that volunteers were phased out in the years shortly after that.
Station 8 had just opened when he started, with paid employees staffing it only during the day. The county had three ambulances at that time. By contrast, today there are 13 stations with three more in the works under the current SPLOST.
Lacy had nearly 300 employees under his leadership at the time of his retirement. The department was budgeted for 307 total, and some are being hired now to be ready when the new stations come on line since the training takes several months.
“I thought early on I wanted to be a fire chief,” said Lacy. “I had no clue what that was about. I was blissfully naive.”
He plans to do some part-time teaching in the months and years to come, having spent 13 years in the department’s training division during his tenure and noting that teaching was one of his favorite parts of the job.
When asked to sum up his time with the department, his answer was simple and not unexpected.
“I think it’s always about the people - those we serve and those we work with,” he said. “We have incredibly good people in our department and they do great work day in and day out.”