Jul. 27—Randy Mobley has spent the last 40 years learning that some of life’s richest rewards do not fit on a bank account ledger.
When he started with the Brunswick Fire Department, Mobley figured he would quickly move on to something more financially rewarding.
“I didn’t plan on being a firefighter for long,” Mobley told The News on Tuesday. “It didn’t pay enough.”
Somewhere along the way, however, Mobley realized life is measured by what you give rather than what you get.
“After saving someone’s life that first time and after answering the call to respond when you’re needed, there was nothing bigger or better to me than being a firefighter,” said Mobley, 61. “Nothing in the whole world.”
The Brunswick Fire Chief announced his retirement July 20, ending his career right where it started.
Mobley was 20 years old when he joined the city fire department in 1982. He worked his way up through ranks, becoming the department’s fire chief in 2012.
He has no regrets about spending his entire career in the service of the people of Brunswick.
“I have loved it with a passion,” Mobley said. “It’s been a privilege and an honor to serve the citizens of Brunswick for 41 years. As a young firefighter, this is not what I planned on. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Wednesday is Mobley’s last day with the fire department. Brunswick Assistant Fire Chief Tim White will serve as the city’s interim fire chief.
During Mobley’s tenure, the fire department initiated a program to install free smoke alarms in every residence in Brunswick. Since 2016, Brunswick firefighters have installed more than 10,000 smoke alarms in homes within the city limits.
The smoke detectors were purchased with donations from individuals, civic organizations and other groups such as the American Red Cross.
City firefighters under Mobley’s direction went door to door in Brunswick offering to install free smoke detectors as part of the Knock4Life program.
Also under Mobley’s tenure, the Brunswick Fire Department attained and maintained a Class 1 Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating. As of last year, it was among only 94 departments nationwide and a handful in Georgia to hold the rating.
Mobley has always placed a high premium on training. The department even maintains a “burn building” and training facility on property behind its station on Fourth Street.
“I just want to thank all the citizens of Brunswick for supporting the fire department,” Mobley said. “And I’d like to thank the firefighters for their loyalty and dedication to the citizens of Brunswick. And thanks for all their hard work.”
As for the future, Mobley said he looks forward to a few good nights’ sleep without interruption from some unforeseen emergency. Among others, the department battled massive blazes fueled by mountains of wood pellets at the Logistec warehouses, first in July 2015 and again in May 2021.
Mobley also looks forward to spending more time fishing and just getting out.
“I want to sleep for about two months, straight through, every night,” Mobley said, chuckling. “No late night calls. And then I look forward to fishing. Getting back on the lake or on the river. And then I want to travel.”
Mobley will be missed.
“When you have that type of experience and the tenure that he has established, that is experience and history that is hard to replace,” said Glynn County Fire Chief R.K. Jordan. “It’s difficult to keep up with the changes in standards and practices in that stretch of time, but Randy has done a great job of it. He’s earned his retirement and I hope he enjoys it immensely.”
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