Newton County Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien congratulates Battalion Chief Terry Davenport for his 33 years in the fire service. Thursday was Davenport’s last shift and the firefighters surprised him with a retirement party. (Staff photos: Jessicah Peters)
COVINGTON — After 17 years as a volunteer and 16 more years as a career firefighter, Newton County Fire Service Battalion Chief Terry Davenport retired after his last shift Thursday.
His last day on the job was spent with fellow firefighters, friends and family celebrating his dedication to keeping the county safe. The fire team threw a “surprise” retirement party Thursday during Davenport’s last shift.
Chief Kevin O’Brien said while he’s only been with the NCFS for seven years, he’s known Davenport for many more and learned quite a lot from his leadership.
“He’s the most solid, consistent and calm firefighter I’ve ever known not only in Newton County, but in my entire career,” O’Brien said. “He’s the go-to guy when the job needs to get done and is really dedicated to serving his county.”
Davenport, 60, began volunteering in 1981 because the need of more fire service coverage in the northern part of the county and was instrumental in building Station 8.
“After many houses had burned there was a need for a fire station in the north part of Newton. We’ve come a long way and I’ve really loved the people I’ve worked alongside during my 33 years,” Davenport said.
Since Thursday was his last day on the job, Davenport will be succeeded by current firefighter Joe Cagle.
Cagle said Davenport has been a great leader and will definitely be missed.
In honor of his calm demeanor and longtime service with NCFS, O’Brien said there will now be a “Terry Davenport Leadership Award” presented annually to anyone with the NFCS who portrays the attitude and dedication Davenport had.
“We can fill his spot, but no one can ever replace Terry,” O’Brien said. “He’s been a great mentor for all of us.”