Murfreesboro Fire Rescue Assistant Chief of Training Allen Swader will retire with 29 years of service on July 1.
Swader began his career in the fire service in 1990 after a little "push" from cousin Johnny Swader. "I never had aspirations of becoming a firefighter, but my cousin Johnny worked for MFRD and asked me if I would like to join the department. I decided to apply and once hired, realized I really enjoyed helping people."
He says it was purely a blessing to be hired at such a wonderful department and at that moment he vowed he would always give 100 percent to the job, his co-workers, and the community.
"Working for MFRD has been an amazing experience for me," Swader says, "and an honor that afforded me many valuable opportunities to learn and grow."
Swader, a former fire inspector, reflects on his most memorable call, "It was an apartment fire on January Street. A 2-year-old girl died while asleep in her bed. Her siblings were playing with matches and accidentally caught her bed on fire." He notes this is something that he and the other first responders will never forget.
Throughout the years, Swader has seen many changes in the department. Most notably he adds the establishment of the public information officer for the department. Swader was the first to be appointed to the position in 2009. Ashley McDonald assumed the role in July 2012. "Ashley has taken this role to new heights, and I'm so proud of what she has done for our department."
What does he see for the years ahead? "A new administration building and continued growth and success of the employees."
As for post-retirement, Swader plans to spend more time with family and travel. He and wife Lisa have two children, Zion and Amari. "I'm also excited about being able to be there for them, for their sporting and other school events," he comments.
"We will certainly miss Allen," said Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks. "He is not only a great person to work with, but he's a wonderful man in general. He has a contagious positive attitude and he exemplifies the traits of a God-fearing man."
Swader celebrated with family and friends at Patterson Park Community Center June 26.
"I am very grateful for the friends I have made here. These relationships will last a lifetime."