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Covington Fire Department Captain Dan Frederick Issues Heartfelt Retirement Speech; Offers Gratitude & Words of Wisdom

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At last week’s Board of Commissioners Legislative meeting on August 8, 2017, Covington Fire Department Captain Dan Frederick, Battalion Chief Seth Poston, Assistant Chief Chris Black, and Engineer Nick Nazzarine announced their retirement after 120 years of combined service, effective August 31, 2017.

Captain Frederick, a member of the Covington Fire Department since 1993 and a firefighter since 1982, delivered a heartfelt speech reflecting on his career. He offered gratitude to those he worked with along the way, words of wisdom and stories of lessons learned.

Frederick thanked the Covington Fire Department of both previous generations and the current for their leadership, dedication and commitment. He also thanked the families of the firefighters, the community and the City of Covington for their support and the opportunity to serve.

The City of Covington thanks Captain Frederick, Battalion Chief Seth Poston, Assistant Chief Chris Black, and Engineer Nick Nazzarine for their years of service.

To view Captain Frederick’s speech, please see below: 

Captain Dan Frederick Retirement Speech

Good Evening, 

I am Captain Frederick, a member of the Covington Fire Department since 1993. We have given decades of our lives to Covington so we appreciate a few minutes of your time. 

I started my career in the Fire Service October of 1982, yes that was 35 years ago, in Jeffersontown Ky. A little over 10 years later I found myself at 100 East Robbins Street, Covington Fire Headquarters, never believing this day, today, would come so fast.  

We were met by a group of what I believe to be the Greatest Generation of Firefighters in our History. Salty old veterans that by any means would be viewed differently today. Every Shift they drank 2 pots of coffee, smoked a pack of cigarettes, all the food was fried and covered in gravy, they had a sleep schedule I think only a combat veteran could understand.  But when they went to work there was no doubt. They became our mentors, our protectors so to speak. They taught us what we needed to survive on the streets riding the ambulance and fighting fires passed down for decades by those before them. No matter how hard we tried to think we knew everything and certainly more than "they" did, we learned. 

Years later we found ourselves saying the same things, teaching the same things and protecting the next generation in the same manner.  I miss those old guys, and unfortunately I never took the opportunity to tell them how much they meant to us. Whenever I see what is left of them today I tell them I learned "My Lesson" and thank you. The others passed on, far too many, not long after retiring, we buried them, folded a flag for the family and placed a gold star on their picture in the Union Hall. You have to understand that 25 years ago Covington was a different city, and it will evolve over the next 25 years to become whatever it's meant to be...... and the proud serving members of the Fire, Police, and Public Works will continue to see those changes through. 

Your first introduction to Covington was the ambulance.... You learned a lot very quickly. The most important was the City of Covington sleeps....from 5:24 a.m. to 5:27 a.m., Tuesday's, in Spring, every other year, when its 68 Degrees and relative low humidity. Microwaves can destroy any great dinner that has been sitting 5 hours while you were out on calls, sleep was actually something your parents made up so they had some peace and quiet, you can make 25 EMS calls in 24 hrs, and never ask anyone why they were "doing that" at 4:30' in the morning...... from there you realized something; the only 2 things a Firefighter wants in his or her career are time and opportunity. Opportunity is first, to start that first day of drill school, be given a chance to show what you have learned, and prove, what you can do with that knowledge, an opportunity to make the difference in someone's life, most likely on the worst day of theirs, to be the Company's Front Firefighter on the nozzle of a good hot building on fire, putting it out and being able to say, " We did that."  Eric was the first of us.  Shortly after, I was hired, then in the door came, Nick, Chris, and Seth. We were not Chiefs, or Officers or Engineers, we were just new Firefighters starting our path in life as the rest of our generation trickled in, adding a few every couple months.  "We were given the "Opportunity," we so badly wanted. 

The second thing we all wanted was time. Once you join the Covington Fire Department you believe you will be here forever. We have enjoyed over 120 Years of Service between this group, but time moves on:  

On Aug 29th Battalion Chief Poston will spend his last day in command of his 2nd Shift, he will make his final calls, shares meals and stories...and then his "Time here will end." 

The following day Aug 30, I will take the Captains Seat in Covington Ladder Truck 1 at Headquarters Company and Engineer Nick Nazzarine will climb in the back of Truck 1, to what is probably the greatest job in the Fire Department, the Tillerman's Bucket. Our Aerial Truck Operator Jim Schaefer will sit next to me and we will spend our last shift as a crew...... when our calls are over and the our replacements show up.... "Our time here will end!" 

Aug 31 Assistant Chief Black will work his last day shift having handed the reigns and a new class of recruits or as we call them Ducks, over to Assistant Chief Pierce.... "And his time will end." 

That evening the last of us and what I certainly think is the best of us Battalion Chief Matheny will sit down and enjoy a final meal with his 1st shift.... "And his time will end." 

September 1 the Covington Fire Department will carry on with business as usual. With our time ending, we are giving them that opportunity they sought for so long. First let's thank our families for supporting our dream job. Missing holidays, our kids events, sometimes milestones we can't go back and enjoy.  For being there when our shifts were over and for learning to live life by the every third day schedule. We want to thank our Fire Chiefs that hired us, the old guys that taught us, fought beside us, molded us into what we became but there are far too many to list, the Union, our Local 38, for protecting us and making our job security one thing less to worry about. Thank you to Geno at Roy Tailors, and Fred at Alberts Men's Shop, they kept us looking like professionals, a special thanks to Bill Irwin for providing the Downtown Companies with our meals at catering cost for over 2 decades. He also catered our Union Events, and most of our weddings.  Secretaries Nancy and Kelly for being 2nd moms to all of us young kids while we navigated the system... Pat had some young ones and ... Now Misty has her own group to raise. Thanks to Pat Hartman, who dedicated so many years to Covington and always had the answer, and time to help. 

I have to mention our good friend Engineer Mike Bischoff, he served Covington for 19 yrs and died far too young, with too much to give in life. I hope he found the peace he could not find here in this world, and I hope we never miss another opportunity to save one of our own.  

We cannot say enough about the People that have been in, and influenced our lives since this all began. As the Firefighters before us have all done, we will leave a part of our heart and soul in Covington..... it just becomes part of you and you of it.  Some will and some won't admit it, but I wish I had more time: but our time here has ended.  

Thank You all, 

Captain Dan Frederick

Posted on August 15, 2017 in Fire.