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Editorial: Wishing fire chief well on retirement plans

  • Wilbur Daley

One thing was clear when we spoke to Wilbur Daley about his pending retirement as the county’s fire chief and director of emergency services: he’s not finished helping people.

Daley, who has been in fire service for 33 years — the last 17 in Jasper County — said he enjoys talking to people and being engaged in their lives.

He’s been able to connect with others through his job and as deacon at Great Swamp Baptist Church.

His final day as fire chief isn’t yet solidified (it will take several months to find his replacement), but Daley’s already thinking about other ways he can contribute to the county, including starting a chaplaincy program to help workers deal with the stresses of their jobs.

Talking to Daley at his office last week it was obvious he wants to stay involved in the community.

More than once he said he wants the county to know he’s not going to forget about the people. After a few months of rest and spending time woodworking, he plans to bring the chaplaincy program to all parts of the county.

He said he’s always welcomed his staff to come to him with any problems.

“My door is always open; if you have a problem that doesn’t deal with fire service, when you come in and shut that door, it’s just me, you and the good Lord,” he said.

Faith is Daley’s foundation. He’s been at Great Swamp Baptist since 1982, and he talked about the importance of continuing to share the Lord’s word.

Step of Faith Christian Academy Principal Donna Carter expects Daley, who serves as the private school’s vice chairman and was project coordinator for the school’s new 15,000-square-foot gym, to continue to make an impact.

“Wilbur has a servant’s heart, with an inner strength and joy. He truly cares about people,” she said.

Even though Daley announced his retirement last week, it’s likely he’ll be on the job for a couple of more months. He said he wants to help the new fire chief seamlessly step into the position before he relinquishes the reins.

We thank him for always being accommodating and forthright. We wish him well.

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