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After a quarter century of service, Franklin Firefighter retires

Engineer helped save lives and bring new ones into the world

After 25 years with the Franklin Fire Department, today is Engineer Steve Gibson’s final day on the job.

“We thank Firefighter Steve Gibson for his many years of dedication and service to our community,” said City Administrator Eric Stuckey. “He has made an impression on many lives and we wish him the best in his retirement.”

Gibson grew up in Thompson’s Station on his grandfather’s farm. The second oldest child, Gibson has six sisters.

While he was a student at Franklin High School, Gibson participated in a community service program where he led an initiative to clean up the cemetery at Hillsboro Road and Del Rio Pike.  He even brought his own chainsaw and tools to complete the job. “The city leaders took notice.  I got my name in the paper and a plaque,” said Gibson.

After graduation he began working at Shoney’s restaurant, where he met the late Fire Chief J.W. Culberson.  Gibson said Culberson remembered him from previous publicity, and told him of a firefighter position opening, encouraging him to apply.

Because he’d had such a positive experience from prior service, Gibson decided to give it a try.  He said, “I felt like I’d be doing something for the community.” He was hired in 1987.

Gibson’s sister Arlena Clausi, who is a detective for the Franklin Police Department, was hired by the City of Franklin shortly after Gibson was.

Gibson, who is African American, said his grandfather was elated when Gibson and his sister were hired by the city, at a time when there were few minority employees. He told them that would not have happened with his generation. “He was so proud of us,” said Gibson. “He said, ‘I’ve farmed all my life and it’s back-breaking work. That’s a good job.  You need to hold on to it.’”

And that’s what Gibson did. For the past two and a half decades he has served the City of Franklin. He was promoted to the rank of engineer in 1995. With the exception of spending two years at Station 2 on Murfreesboro Road, Gibson has been assigned to Station 1 his entire career.

At the time he was hired, Station 1 was located at 604 West Main St. (now the Stites and Harbison law firm), where Gibson remembers sliding down the fire pole (which no longer exist in Franklin fire stations). Today Station 1 is located at 500 New Highway 96 West, and serves the downtown and west Franklin communities.

One of the Gibson’s most memorable calls occurred several years ago just before Christmas, when a wreck on New Highway 96 West claimed the life of a woman.  Gibson said the woman’s husband was traveling in a separate vehicle a few miles behind her, and rolled up on the wreck to find his wife had passed away. “It was one of those moments,” said Gibson.

Gibson’s most memorable fire was the fatal Jewel Brothers Tobacco Warehouse fire in 1989. One man was killed in a warehouse that was located behind John Deere Tractor on 9th Avenue North.

On a lighter note, another memorable call was being part of the crew that helped to deliver a baby at Franklin Fire Station1 in 2002. Fairview parents-to-be Dorene and Kevin Pine realized they were not going to make it to the hospital and pulled in behind the bay at the rear of the station and “laid on the horn.”

The firefighters carried Dorene inside the station. Moments later, Lauren Grace Pine was born. Kevin said she was, “Perfect, pink, just enough of a cry so you knew she was breathing.” He added, “There was much relief, joy and tears, and not just from Dorene and me.”

Gibson will continue to operate B&G Lawn Care and Design, a business he started 21 years ago. Gibson purchased part of his grandfather’s farm several years ago, where he built a home and now resides.

“It’s been a wonderful 25 years. I’ve met a lot people, helped a lot of people, and worked with some great guys. That’s the biggest part I’m going to miss,” said Gibson. He added, “This is a new chapter in my life and I’m excited about it.”

Posted on: 12/10/2012

 
 

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