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For the past 15 years, Lt. George Blacketer has been servicing Lincoln County as a volunteer firefighter, and after much deliberation, he’s decided to hang up his fire gear and focus on the most important thing in his life: his family.

At the June 12 North Lincoln Fire and Rescue board meeting, Blacketer officially announced his retirement as a volunteer.

“Up until today I had a long draw-out speech planned but I’m just going to keep it short and simple,” Blacketer said. “With everything going on in my personal life, I have a full-time job that prevents me from making drill on Monday’s and another part-time job that’s almost full time as well… after 15 years of volunteer service I would like to announce my retirement, effective immediately.”

Blacketer first joined the fire department over two decades ago. He said it actually wasn’t even his idea.

“I first joined in 1998 after a good friend talked me into it,” Blacketer said. “I resigned after three years and in 2007 I rejoined and went through the academy and graduated as a firefighter 1.”

In 2008 Blacketer transferred to Depoe Bay Fire District, where he spent two years before moving back into Lincoln City and transferring back to NLFR. Since coming back to NLFR, Blacketer has earned his firefighter 2, EMR (emergency medical responder), wildland firefighter, hazmat responder and category 3 driver (anything below a ladder truck). He has also completed rope rescue training and earned the rank of Lieutenant.

Blacketer also ran for the NLFR board position 1 seat during the 2019 election and congratulated the incumbents at the Wednesday meeting.

Blacketer’s decision to retire was not an easy one, but for him it was the right one.

“I decided to retire to focus more on my family,” he said. “My jobs take up a majority of my time and I just didn’t see how I can make the fire department work without missing more family time.

“My wife and kids have supported me over the last 12 years and now it’s time to support them. I honestly could not have done this without them.”

At the conclusion of his announcement Wednesday, Blacketer asked interim Chief Rob Dahlman if he could keep his red helmet as a small token for his countless hours of volunteer work in the county.

“I think everyone in this room can agree that I’ve worked pretty hard to get that,” Blacketer said.

Dahlman said he would take care of the request.

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