As of Monday, October 28, 2013
Halloween is the last day Lloyd Hazzard will don his Sunnyside Deputy Fire Chief uniform.
Thursday, Oct. 31, will end a career that has stretched over 33 years. A Sunnyside native, Hazzard’s career will be marked with a reception on his last day from 2 to 4 p.m. at the fire station where he began his vocation as a firefighter.
“I joined the fire department in 1979 as a volunteer at the urging of Jim Stanton, who was a fire department captain at the time,” Hazzard recalled. Stanton went on to become the department chief.
It was a just a year after signing up to be a volunteer that Hazzard decided to become a paid firefighter.
“I was given the opportunity to so I decided to take the firefighter test. I made it to the top four,” he said.
He didn’t get hired in the first go-round. “The department hired Wayne Cramplett and Abel French at that time,” he said.
But by late 1980 an opening came up, and Hazzard got the nod.
Always one to work to do his very best, Hazzard quickly began the process of training to become a career firefighter, earning certifications as an emergency medical technician and an IV/Airway technician. He also joined Yakima County Fire District 5 as a volunteer in 1980.
By 1992, Hazzard had advanced to fire captain and by 1996, he was named battalion chief. He was appointed deputy coroner, a position he continues to hold. He was promoted to deputy chief in 2000. In addition to those duties, he was the department’s EMS training and safety training officer.
In addition to advancing in the department’s ranks, Hazzard took leadership roles in state firefighter organizations, serving in all of the top board positions in the Washington State Fire Fighters Association, including being elected president of the state organization in 1993. He also became involved in the Washington State Training and Safety Officers, serving that organization for 20 years. He is currently the group’s chairman, a position he has held for 15 years.
Hazzard has also served in leadership positions in the Lower Valley Training Officers Association, the Region 7 Arson Task Force, the Ammonia HazMat Team, Critical Incident Stress Management Team, the Yakima County Investigators and Fire Prevention Group, Trench Rescue and Confined Space Rescue.
“I have always liked serving the community and helping people in their time of need,” Hazzard said.
He’s a bit sad that he won’t get to work in the new fire station that is currently being built. “But, I’m ready to begin retirement,” he said.
As busy as he has been as a leader in the Sunnyside Fire Department, he and his wife Sheila have raised six children and are grandparents to five more children.
He has been active in Ducks Unlimited, Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, Valley Theatre Company, Over the Hills Theatricals, Miss Sunnyside Pageant Committee, the Sunnyside Community Hospital Medical Ball and Lower Valley Hospice.
“I guess I just never got the hang of saying ‘no’ to people’s requests,” he said.
“I’ve always stayed pretty involved and I have never liked doing anything half way,” he admitted.
“I just like to see things through and see things done well,” he said.
Now moving toward retirement, he is looking forward to being able to decorate his house for the holidays in broad daylight.
“I’ve usually decorated at the end of shift in the middle of the night,” he grinned.