This morning’s sudden resignation of Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Bill Gillespie took many by surprise. With the dust beginning to settle Gillespie reached out with the hopes of letting his community know how grateful he is that he has had the opportunity to serve it. Read his statement below:
A Message from Former Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Bill Gillespie
As you may know by now, I have stepped down as Fire Chief of Humboldt Bay Fire Joint Powers Authority. Before I go further, there has been speculation on some of the blogs this day that it was because of “this or that.” I can honestly say that my resignation was not due to anything illegal or immoral.
I wanted to take the opportunity to express my gratitude and honor to having been able to have served you, the greater Eureka area, as a member of Humboldt Bay Fire Joint Powers Authority, and with Eureka Fire Department before consolidation. That is especially true of having had the opportunity to serve as your Fire Chief. I am humbled by the level of professionalism of so many at Humboldt Bay Fire, and the support of our community. While not often thought of, the citizens of our community have a top-notch fire department who serves them in all manner of emergency and non-emergency situations.
As I have tried to figure out what I would say to the department and to the community, I kept going back to customer service. We all worked together for Humboldt Bay Fire, providing customer service to our community in the best fashion we could. Internally, we didn’t always agree on issues or in discussions, but when the tone went off, and our community needed us, we came together to provide the highest level of professionalism and customer service that we could. And we did a darn good job of it, often with not enough people initially, but everyone dug deep, put their training and experience to work, and we took care of the incident. This directly benefitted our community members.
I look back over 30+ years in the fire service, and almost 22 years here in Eureka, and feel a sense of pride knowing I have been a part of something bigger than each of us. The ability and opportunity to help someone in their worst time, on potentially the worst day of their life, is a very humbling endeavor. We all came to this profession for a variety of reasons, but along the path, to have the knowledge, skills and ability…and desire to assist those in their time of need is special. To the members of Humboldt Bay Fire, I am honored to have had the opportunity to have served with you. I look back to decisions I have made in my career. Some I learned from when they did not turn out the way I thought they would. The times where I stood up for what I believed in and felt were important, I do not regret, for they were the right decision in my mind when it came to the community, the department, and those who work here.
I knew when I took on the role of Fire Chief that there was always a chance that my situation could change. Until one holds the position, and works in the position, they do not truly know what the job entails or the workload and stress that goes with it. While this time at Humboldt Bay Fire comes to an end and one door closes, I look into the future for what the next door will be that opens. I challenge our firefighters to continue forward in their careers, and continue to strive to be the best they can be. I am proud to have served with you as the professionals you are. Keep protecting our community!
To our community, of which I am still a member, I want to say thank you for your support, your insight, and your concerns. I also want you to know that you have a group of dedicated professionals there to support you day and night, 24/7/365. They work hard for our community in its time of need, providing service to all equally. Remember to support them now and into the future.
To all, thank you for the opportunity. I am honored and humbled to have served with you and for you.
Former Fire Chief
Humboldt Bay Fire