The San Angelo Fire Department will honor retiring Battalion Chief Royce Owen’s 34 years of service and celebrate the promotion of 11 other firefighters, including new Assistant Chief of Operations Todd Sanford, at a public reception Friday, Nov. 4.

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The event will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the SAFD’s Central Fire Station, 306 W. 1st St.

Owen joined the SAFD as a rookie firefighter in June 1982 and earned his emergency medical technician certification six months later. He advanced to firefighter in 1983 and earned a promotion to driver in 1984. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1998, to captain in 2002 and to battalion chief in 2007. Battalion chief is the lead officer of a 24-hour shift.

“We embrace the opportunity to honor Chief Owen’s decades of commitment to the SAFD, to the fire service and to his men,” Fire Chief Brian Dunn said. “At the same time, we’re sorry to see him go. Royce is a good man.”

The SAFD has meant so much to Owen that when he and his wife Lisa celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in 2013 by renewing their wedding vows, they did so at Fire Station No. 1 (aka Central Fire), which was adorned with flowers and fire equipment.

The vacancy created by Owen’s retirement will be filled by Jay Neely, whose promotion to battalion chief will be celebrated during the event.

Sanford replaces Scott Farris, who retired earlier this year. Sanford joined the SAFD as a rookie firefighter in 1991, advancing to firefighter I four months later and to firefighter II a year after joining the department. He became a certified paramedic in 1992 and promoted to driver in 1993, to lieutenant in 1999 and to captain in 2003. As assistant chief, he will oversee day-to-day operations of the SAFD.

Also celebrating promotions will be:

  • Captains – Christopher Naylor and Dennis Hayes.
  • Lieutenants – Donald Jordan, Thomas Jacoby and Santos Elizondo.