The last year has been difficult and we hope that better times will be here soon.

The arrival of 2021 means I am nearing the completion of my sixth year here at East Pierce Fire & Rescue, and a total of 36 years in the fire service dating back to 1985 when I first became a volunteer firefighter in Benton County. That time as a volunteer, along with my fire protection engineering background, catapulted me into a career that I had not anticipated coming out of college. It is a career that I am extremely honored and grateful to have experienced. While there have been highs and lows, I would not trade it for anything. Being a firefighter is the best job in the world!

While I am proud of the accomplishments that we have made here at East Pierce Fire & Rescue, the time has come for me to step aside and allow others to steer the ship. I will retire in the middle of June and enter the next chapter of life. One that my wife, Judy, is excited to get started. Our 30th wedding anniversary will be just a few months following my retirement, and finally, she will not have to share me anymore. After all the support that she has provided to me, it is time to spend more time together.

East Pierce Fire & Rescue is extremely fortunate to have talented and highly skilled people within our department that are ready to take on the leadership of the organization. The Board of Fire Commissioners has selected our very own Deputy Chief Jon Parkinson to be the next Fire Chief!

The ability to select the next Fire Chief from within the organization helps provide a smooth transition and eliminates the chaos (and cost) of conducting a national search to fill the position.

I have known Chief Parkinson for some time and am supremely confident that he will serve you well. With 28 years of fire service experience, Jon has risen through the ranks and held the position of Deputy Chief in two departments. Having completed a master’s degree in public administration, Chief Parkinson is well qualified for the position. You will be in good hands.

We will begin the leadership transition in the middle of May. Until then, I have plenty to do around here.

Thank you,

Fire Chief Bud Backer

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