Departures, returns at fire department

Benny Westcott

It was a day of goodbyes and returns during the Tuesday, Nov. 15, Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance District’s board of directors meeting at the Jim Riggs Community Center.

Fire Chief Nick Tyler presented recently retired Deputy Chief Doug Emmert with honors and gifts, then welcomed firefighter Josh Marvin, a familiar face to the family.

Tyler gave Emmert an American flag that has hung for years in Main Station No. 21’s training room, as well as his “Emmert” name tag and his deputy chief helmet, with “going away” notes from department staff.

He also handed Emmert a challenge coin.

“It’s kind of a symbol that came from the military meaning that you’re part of a group,” he explained. “And I know that you’ve been here for a long time and you’ve been parts of it, but now you’ve achieved your goals and you’re here. You will always be a

part of Sweet Home Fire.”

Emmert worked for the district nearly uninterrupted from 1977 until his retirement as deputy chief in August. He began working full-time with Sweet Home in 1979, eventually retiring as a battalion chief in 2011. Several years into his first retirement, he was asked by former chief Dave Barringer to become deputy chief, beginning that role in 2018.

Now, after retiring for the second time, Emmert lives in Sublimity with his wife, Peggy, where they moved to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Peggy received her share of accolades from her husband.

“She’s [gone] a lot of places and done a lot of stuff by herself,” he said. “That’s just the way this business is. She deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Then he reflected on his long tenure.

“It’s weird, the change that suddenly happens,” he said. “I think pretty much everyone in the room I’ve been involved with in

this fire department, and now I’m doing retired stuff, so that’s good. I wish nothing but the best for this department and all the people in it. It has meant a ton to me. Keep up the good work.”

Presenting Emmert with the American flag, Tyler said, “I wanted to do something with the flag, and you’re the first person I thought of that I thought deserved it and needed it.”

Also at the meeting, Josh Marvin was sworn in as a firefighter.

Marvin was born and raised in the city, graduating from Sweet Home High School in 2001. He then became a SHFAD volunteer,

later serving as a part-time emergency medical technician/firefighter for about four and a half years.

Marvin then spent four years with the Oregon Department of Forestry, where he was stationed in Sweet Home for two years and Unity for one. He was a wildland firefighter his first year, then an engine boss in his second and third. He wrapped his ODF stint as a crew boss for a prison camp near Tillamook.

Then he moved to Roseburg and met his wife, Allison. The pair later relocated to Bend, but decided to make their way to Sweet Home, allowing Marvin to come back to the SHFAD.

“When my wife and I moved back to Sweet Home,” he recalled, “I started volunteering again and fell back in love with it.”

He worked as a volunteer for about a year, starting in 2018, then pursued an associate degree in paramedicine, graduating from Chemeketa Community College in 2021. Now, he’s completing a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration from Eastern Oregon University.

He said he loves “the opportunity to help people and be part of the community,” noting “the awesome people that are at Sweet Home.”

At the meeting, Emmert said, “Josh, I’m proud of you, man. I’m glad you got that job. You persevered and I think you earned it.”

Also at the meeting, the board unanimously voted to award an engineering contract for Station No. 22’s seismic rehabilitation to the Oregon City-based ZCS Engineering & Architecture.