Longtime Dunedin fire chief retires today after 48 years of firefighting
DUNEDIN -- Longtime fire Chief Clarence "Bud" Meyer retires today after 48 years in the business -- 24 of them at the helm of Dunedin's 55-member department.
Industry colleagues say Meyer's service makes him one of the longest-serving fire professionals in Pinellas County's history.
"I've enjoyed what I've accomplished, the people I've met along the way," says Meyer, 67. "It's been a great career."
The 1964 Seminole High graduate spent a year volunteering with that city's fire department before traveling Montana, Guam and Thailand during a four-year stint in the Air Force's fire crash rescue division. When he returned home, the firefighter was hired by Clearwater's fire department, where he spent nearly 20 years climbing the ranks to lieutenant, then district chief and, finally, to assistant chief of operations.
Meyer became Dunedin's fire chief on Jan. 9, 1989. City leaders credit him with modernizing the department, as well as collaborating with fire departments across the county. Read about what Meyer says are his greatest accomplishments here.
This afternoon, Meyer will turn in the pager, cellphone and radio he has carried for years and embark on a quieter life in Clay County, where he and his wife, Melody, have purchased a lot near their daughter. They plan to build a home, then spend their days hiking, bicycling, traveling and "enjoying life."
After a national search, city officials followed Meyer's recommendation and appointed Deputy Chief Jeff Parks as Meyer's successor. Parks calls Meyer "a walking history book."
"You don't see too many chiefs last as long as he has in this system," said Parks, who served as administrative fire chief in Pasco County and chief in East Lake before coming to Dunedin five years ago. "Hopefully, we can continue on with his tradition."
--Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer