While one veteran fire official was honored for his three decades of service, another veteran firefighter was welcomed aboard as the new county fire chief during a special ceremony held Tuesday night during the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners meeting.
Steve Somers, who had been serving as chief of Baldwin County Fire Rescue before he retired last week following a 30-year career with the fire department, was one of those honored.
Commissioners also publicly welcomed Victor Young as the county’s new fire chief.
During a special ceremony, which was witnessed by a standing room only audience of family, friends and fellow firefighters, Somers passed on the traditional ax to Young as the new leader of the fire department.
Commission Chairman John H. Westmoreland presented Somers with a beautiful plaque representing his three decades with the fire department and rising all the way up the ladder to become fire chief for a relatively short period of time.
“We appreciate what you’ve done and hope you have a great retirement,” Westmoreland told Somers.
At the same time, it’s also time to pass the torch, Westmoreland said.
“We’re going to pass the ax,” he added.
Somers then took the ax and passed it to Young.
“I hope you have as good a service as I had and good luck as chief,” Somers told Young.
That part of the ceremony ended in a round of applause from the audience for both men.
“I had a wonderful 30 years with Baldwin County,” Somers said. “Working as fire chief was excellent. I had a great bunch of guys working under me, which made my job easy. And I’m sure Chief Young will have the same luck.”
Chief Young made public comments, too.
“Personally, I would just like to thank God for being head of my life,” Young said. “I’m thankful for this opportunity to be serving as fire chief.”
Young said he doesn’t take his new role as fire chief for granted.
“I take it seriously,” Young said. “And I’m planning on serving the county with dignity, with respect, and loyalty. So whenever you need us at fire services, feel free to call us, and I promise you I will give you everything from the bottom of my heart.”
Young later introduced several members of his family, including his wife, Latonya Johnson Young, and his mother, Irene Young.