Groveland fire chief Willie Morgan to retire after new complex is built

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Groveland Fire Chief Willie Morgan. // Photo provided by city of Groveland

The construction of a new public safety complex in Groveland will signal the beginning of one era and the end of another.

Willie Morgan, Groveland’s first and only fire chief, will retire from the department after serving as construction project manager for the complex, a news release states. He will directly oversee the planning of the building and work closely with all contracted agencies to ensure successful completion.

He has served for more than 40 years, starting as a department volunteer and climbing the ranks. Willie grew up in Groveland and returned home after graduating college to become a key figure in city operations and achievements. He also served as interim city manager and a member of the City Council.

“The Groveland Fire Department has been a good and major aspect of my life for many years, beginning in 1975,” the chief wrote in his retirement announcement. “I’ve seen our fire department blossom from volunteers into a professional organization, second to none in the county.”

The precise date for the chief’s retirement will depend on the completion of the project, estimated as sometime in 2020. He is excited about the future of the fire department as well as life after retirement: he and his wife purchased a riverfront home in Alabama for their retirement years.

The new public safety complex is under construction at 6825 State Road 50, east of Tractor Supply Co. The complex will house all of the city’s public safety employees—police, fire, and 911 dispatch—as well as an Emergency Operation Center. The approximate 33,000-square-foot multilevel building also will include an ambulance bay, training classrooms, and Groveland’s Community Development Department, a release states.

“Though change is never easy and always challenging, we celebrate Chief Morgan’s past achievements, as well as his personal decision to transition into retirement and spend time with his family,” City Manager Mike Hein says in the release. “He has served as a leader, mentor, and friend to many…for his labor of love and commitment, the city of Groveland will forever be grateful.”

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