Editor's note: Former Fire Chief Jimmy Cook says he was forced to retire. See a follow-up story in the April 13 edition of the News.
After more than 50 years battling blazes for the city of Pembroke, Fire Chief Jimmy Cook will officially hang up his gear and retire.
During the Pembroke City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on Monday at City Hall, council and fire committee member Diane Moore made the announcement on Cook’s behalf.
With Cook’s retirement official, the council also approved unanimously to appoint Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell to serve as interim fire chief for the city. The city’s plans to hire another chief weren’t immediately available.
Cook began his volunteer work with the Pembroke Fire Department on Oct. 1, 1962, eventually working his way up to the top position with the department in 1971. His name will remain on the department’s roll as Fire Chief Emeritus, according to a press release from the city.
Cook is the husband of former Mayor Judy Cook, who also retired after her fourth term as mayor ended in early 2012.
In addition to Cook, firefighter Rex Smith also announced his retirement Monday. Smith has been with the department since Nov. 1, 1962. His name will also be listed on the department’s roll as Fireman Emeritus.
“(They have) a combination of over about 100 years of service, I think, that they have served for the city of Pembroke,” Moore said.
Mayor Mary Warnell announced a reception honoring both men will be held from 5-7 p.m. April 25.
“This is a milestone not many people achieve, which is 50 years — either working or volunteering or the combination thereof,” Warnell said during the meeting. “So we are excited for them and wish them well in their retirement, and we hope that you’ll all be in attendance for the reception.”
Cook could not be reached for comment by presstime.