A longtime Nashville firefighter is retiring after serving the community for more than 50 years.
Nashville District Fire Chief Bobby Connelly first began working for the fire department in 1959.
“I have to be honest, I needed a job,” he recalled. “I didn't realize it's not a job, it's a way of life and God's blessed me for 53 years. Put me around the people that I've been associated with.”
During his long career, the 75-year-old man said he has always loved the job despite having a number of close calls, including being severely injured in 1991.
“Accidents happen, but no, I never, never gave a thought about not coming back to work,” he said, adding, “It's easy [to come back] when you love something, it's not hard, and they even pay me. I get a salary for doing this.”
Connelly said he has overcome many obstacles in his long career, including losing his mother in 2003, with the help of his fellow firefighters.
“I say they're my immediate family. I put them right in with my wife and my children,” he said.
Connelly said he is unsure what he will do in retirement, but added he and his wife recently purchased an RV.