By Jesse Wood
Dec. 19, 2014. After nearly 38 years of dedicated service with the Boone Fire Department, Fire Marshal Ronnie Marsh will hang up his fire hat.
On Thursday night, the Boone Town Council recognized Marsh with a “resolution of appreciation” in front of about a dozen of his fellow firefighters who attended the presentation in honor of Marsh.
Boone Fire Chief Jimmy Isaacs noted that Marsh has been an integral member of the department since February 1977, saying, “I can’t say enough about the part he’s played in putting the department where it is today.”
“A lot of where we are today wouldn’t be possible without Ronnie’s work, his dedicated long hours, and lots of sleepless nights, a lot of sacrifice for his family in order for him to participate and do what he’s done,” Isaacs said.
Marsh joked, “I don’t know what to say except when I started this job, number one, I had hair.”
He talked about the sacrifice of missing birthdays, anniversaries and other family engagements just like colleagues at the department continue to do today. Marsh said that public service runs deep in his family – beginning with his grandfather who served as a town alderman many years ago.
His father and brother served on Boone Town Council. Another brother served as town attorney and all of his brothers served on the Boone Fire Department at some point or another.
“That’s when it was volunteer,” Marsh said. “So it has been a call to public service from the very beginning from my grandfather all the way to my son.”
Marsh said he served under five fire chiefs, three town managers and 16 different town councils in Boone.
“So that’s a long time, and it’s time for somebody else to do this,” Marsh said, thanking the council and town leaders for continually supporting the fire department.
“[In the beginning] a lot of things I did was by flying by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go. As Jimmy said, ‘It’s been a long time’ and there just wasn’t that type of structure yet. Now you see structure you committed through your funds and what you’ve done to help your citizens and town,” Marsh said. “I do thank you very much for allowing me to be here for 37 years.”
While Marsh has been a part of the department for nearly 38 years, he has served as Boone Fire Marshal since April 14, 1986, as the President of the Western North Carolina Fire and Life Safety Educators Association, treasurer of N.C. Fire Marshal Association, chair of the N.C. Fire and Life Safety Education Council and president of the Watauga County Firefighter’s Association.