Jan. 03--MONROEVILLE -- Tom Beck has called it a career.
His final day as chief of the Huron River Joint Fire District was Sunday, ending a career that lasted almost 41 years.
He also was a fourth-generation chief in Monroeville, following the footsteps of his father, Jim, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He has been replaced by Norwalk Fire Lt. Curt Stang.
"I had a little over 40 years in and that is a long time," Beck said. "Almost eight years as chief. I just thought it was time to go. It's a long time and it started to wear on me a little."
Beck's fulltime job is at CertainTeed in Avery. He started at CertainTeed about the same time he started with the fire department.
"I don't have any plans. ... Just stepping away from it," Beck said. "Curt Stang got promoted by the fire board. I turned my radio over to him yesterday (Monday) morning. I have a few things to do to finish my year-end report. I followed my dad's footsteps into the fire service. I was honored to serve with my dad for seven-and-a-half years before he resigned. It was an honor to follow my family foosteps.
"I have a nephew (Norwalk native Justin Collins) on the department in Beaver Creek to make it a fifth generation in our family."
Beck talked about some memorable fires.
"For our department back then it was called Venture Packaging in July 3 of '91," Beck said. "The Prime Cut Steakhouse fire in December of 1997. That was a tough one, too. We had quite a few guys there to help us. Durable Mat fire in March of 1980 was a tough one. I was there two days. And, of course, the Janesville Products fire in '92, I think."
Just recently Beck and his crew battled a huge fire on Remelle Road.
"Thankfully on my watch nobody was seriouly hurt over those years," he said. "(It's) a great group of guys to work with here and around the county -- a lot of dedicated people."
Beck, 59, said he hopes to work until he is 65 and "hopefully, have a good retirement. I enjoy fishing and hunting and I hope to stay active with that."
Beck talked a bit about Stang.
"Curt has 26-plus years in at Norwalk," he said. "He's very knowledgeable at what he does. I'm leaving it in good hands with him. I wish him the best."
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