Today the community gathered for a reception to honor Assistant Fire Chief, Steve Tarpley who is leaving the station after thirty-four years of service. The reception was held at the HUB in downtown Hope and many colleagues and friends came out to wish him a farewell.
Members of the HFD spoke highly of Tarpley, saying he was a valued member of the department staff, very knowledgeable about his job, always helping others whether at work or at play and a great christian man. He has set a firm example that will be hard to follow and it will be a difficult task to replace him as a fire fighter, a leader and a friend.
Deciding about six years ago, along with former fire chief, Dale Glanton, who at that time had about as much time in the department as he did, that he would retire at thirty four years, Tarpley is very much at peace with retiring.
“The Lord has made it plain and clear to me to just go ahead and retire, that He has different plans for me other than that so I am just very much at peace with this,” Tarpley said about retiring.
After retiring from the HFD, Tarpley plans on working part time at his gun shop about five days a week and spending time with his four grandchildren. He is excited to teach them the gun trade and take them fishing and hunting.
Tarpley has tremendous respect for his co-workers because of what they do and made reference to the old saying, ‘people are running out of a building but the police and fire fighters are running in,’ adding that you have to be a crazy person to do that, but you also have to be dedicated and love other people. Just one of the reasons he holds the police and fire department in such high respect, because they do things that most people won’t do. “It’s a scary job, it’s a dangerous job when you’re working, but it’s just a calling that I had,” Tarpley said.
“To be selfish, I wish he wouldn’t retire because it’s going to leave a pretty big void in the department. When you’ve got thirty four years of service on, that’s big shoes to fill and you really can’t fill them, you just have to do the best you can.” Todd Martin said when asked his thoughts on Tarpley’s retirement.
Martin also spoke about the fun adventures they shared together, working, fishing and hunting. He talked about knowledge that was passed on to him from Tarpley about how to handle people, situations, a lot of stuff and said those are things he still uses to this day.
“I thank the city of Hope for being so patient with me all these years and being a good place to work for and all the fire fighters that I have known over the years, the older ones that have since retired, since gone and the newer ones that I have worked with that went other places, I just really appreciate their dedication and how much respect that I’ve gotten from them because they are just tremendous people,” Tarpley said at the reception today after being presented with a plaque from the City of Hope.
Tarpley will be greatly missed by his friends at the HFD and the city of Hope but, they are happy to watch him move forward and enjoy this next chapter of his life.