Few people can say they’ve been at the same job for half a century, let alone a job that saves lives.
“I go to all the fire meetings and the trainings and I just can’t give it up,” says Bob Jones.
The 84-year-old, now retired firefighter has worked for 50 years for the Waterbury Fire Department.
“Surprised the heck out of me,” says Jones. “They had a meeting upstairs here and I was called in.”
He hit that milestone in August. A party at the fire station was organized by Battalion Chief Sally Dillon and Jones’ wife.
“I knew nothing,” says Jones. “They did it all on the computer and I don’t touch that so I walked in and it was just loaded with people.”
Jones’ name will appear on a commemorative plaque for the station, which currently only has two other names on it. It’s something Bob’s son and fellow Waterbury firefighter, Darrin, is proud of.
“It made me feel great because some people I didn’t even know came in and I heard some of their stories while talking with them and heard how they know him,” says Darrin Jones.
Service to his fellow community member has been a theme in Bob’s life for decades.
“I got into medical and first aid teaching, I organized the ambulance service here in town me and a couple others,” says Bob. “I was on ski patrol for 42 years, National Ski Patrol.”
Bob also worked for Washington County Mental Health and in the emergency room for Central Vermont Medical Center. He also was a safety officer for Waterbury Backcountry Rescue.
“I was in high school and was always going down to the fire station when dad was there and I figured when I was old enough to serve, I would go on the calls for real,” says Darrin Jones. “Everyone looked up to my father because he was Assistant Chief and then Chief before the merger.”
Despite Bob’s age, he still plays an integral role in what several of his fellow firefighters call a brotherhood and a family.