Johnson and Chewning join SFRD’s Walk of Fame
Last Thursday afternoon, the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District bid farewell to two of its most respected members, Capt. Steve Johnson and Firefighter/Paramedic Bob Chewning, both of whom officially retired from active duty on April 30.
To mark the occasion, their fellow firefighters held a retirement party at Fire Station #1, which included both men being inducted into the SFRD’s Walk of Fame.
Following a luncheon, which included several invited guests, several presents were delivered by the company’s representatives. Among the gifts were etched glass statuettes – with an illuminated base – created by Sanibel artist Luc Century, individual plaques and the bricks which would be added to the station’s Walk of Fame, located behind the main building.
“This has been the best place to work,” said Chewning, a veteran with 15 years of service on the island, who was also given a floppy hat. “We’re all here for the same reason… to respond to emergency calls and make this community a safer place. Everyone here is kinda like your extended family.”
Johnson, a 26-year member of the SFRD, echoed a similar sentiment.
“We’re here to do a job – go on calls and handle emergencies,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends here. Once you’ve been a firefighter, you’re always a part of that brotherhood.”
Asked what’s going to be the most difficult part of his retirement, Johnson said that it would probably be “not coming to work every third day.”
“I’ve got a lot of work around the house to do that I’ve been putting off,” he added. “I’d like to do some traveling with my kids and spend a lot of time fishing.”
As for Chewning, who explained that since he is still working on a couple of tables at the fire station, he’ll be back on the island from time to time.
“I’m planning on building a house up in North Florida,” he said. “I should be able to do everything except the electric. I’d like to do some more woodworking, some biking and maybe a few triathlons. I’m planning a ‘No Remote Control’ type of retirement.”
Duncan noted that both members of his squad will be sorely missed.
“Steve and Bob have a lot of the same qualities, like great experience and a love for the job,” he said. “Both of them are outstanding paramedics, too. They are very meticulous about what they do. We are definitely going to miss them.”