COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The following is an email sent from Chief Bradley Anderson:
Over the past five years I have had the honor of leading the men and women of one of the best fire departments in the Southeast. You, the career and volunteer members, working in all areas of the Department, perform an awe-inspiring spectrum of services around the clock, saving the lives of citizens and protecting their property by applying highly trained skills using special equipment with vigilance and bravery.
It has been my duty and my privilege to do everything possible to support you as you provide the best services with the resources available to the citizens of Columbia and Richland County. I have been assisted by the most capable Command Staff that any Fire Chief could hope to have. They work tirelessly with intelligence, energy, passion, compassion and creativity to help you do your jobs and to ensure your safety.
Although I had envisioned continuing as Chief as the City returns to better financial health, I have reconsidered and believe that this is a good time to proceed with retirement plans. There might appear to be a connection of this decision to issues that we have been dealing with recently, but there are always issues and I can assure you that recent ones are not the reason for my retirement. I now have over 33 years in the retirement system and will soon have fewer expenses with both of my sons graduating from college this year. The past year has been very challenging and, although the budget situation appears to be improving, I also look forward to fewer stresses.
This timing is also important because I believe that Chief Jenkins should have an opportunity to take over leadership of the Department. He too has a lot of time in, but hopefully he will postpone retirement to take on this fulfilling job. Chief Jenkins has been a close partner in managing the Department. He has done so with integrity and wisdom and I know that he will continue to work tirelessly to support the men and women of the CFD, and to provide excellent services to the public.
The City of Columbia has been a great employer and has enabled me to raise my family in a safe, nurturing and stimulating city. I have grown professionally and personally in this job and I consider myself one of the luckiest people in world to have had the opportunity to lead this great Department. Now, I look forward to new challenges with a plan to retire from service with the Columbia Fire Department on February 28.
Over the next five weeks, Chief Jenkins will take on my responsibilities and I will assist him as he formulates a plan to continue the leadership of the Department. Although the budget process has just begun and we have many other projects underway, I also plan to slip away occasionally to visit stations and perhaps to ride companies a few more times.
I will miss the many wonderful people who I have had the opportunity to serve and who are the Columbia Fire Department. Thank you for all that you do. I appreciate you so much.