Retiring Prentiss fire chief honored

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2024

After 29 years of dedicated service to the Prentiss Fire Department, Prentiss Fire Chief Wayne Bass has retired.

A retirement reception was held June 20 at the Ronald W. Jones Memorial Complex in Prentiss.

“It is difficult to put into words just how much this moment means to me.”

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I thank my Lord and Savior for giving me the opportunity and the ability to do this job for so many years,” said Bass.

Bass began working for the Prentiss Fire Department in 1995. He worked for 22 years before being named Prentiss Fire Chief in 2017. Bass also served as the chief of the 84 West Volunteer Fire Department before becoming the Prentiss Fire Chief.

Bass first thanked his wife Kathryn and his daughter Mary Ella for their support.

“For them, the countless meals and family events interrupted, or the quiet nights interrupted by a fire call will never be forgotten by me,” he said.

Bass said his job as fire chief was made easy by the crews that he had and the mayor and board he has had to work with. He worked with Howard Kelly for 22 years and Pete Stephens for 27 years.

“I could name person after person who have supported me throughout my fire department career, but my biggest supporter and encourager was by far my daddy,” said Bass. “He devoted his career to the fire service and was always there to encourage me and teach me as long as he was alive,” he said.

Michael Davis will take over as Prentiss Fire Chief. Josh Lee will also be continuing as a Prentiss firefighter.

“They are both outstanding firefighters who I would trust with my life,” Bass said.  “Michael and Josh have bright futures ahead of them in the fire service for many years to come,” he said.

Bass showed his appreciation to Kathy Johnson, who he worked with for 29 years. “Kathy has been my dispatcher, my secretary and my friend,” he said.

During Bass’ administration, the Prentiss Fire Department has lowered its Class rating from a Class 7 to a Class 6, with a Class 5 clearly in reach.

Bass also thanked AAA and the volunteer departments and firefighters in the county.

“None of this has been possible without you and your love for our county and your willingness to help your fellow neighbors,” he said.

In closing, Bass offered advice and well wishes to those. “I wish the Prentiss Fire Department as well as all the volunteer fire departments in Jefferson Davis County continued success and advancements,” said Bass. “Thanks for the ride; it’s been a fun one,” he said.