HILL CITY, S.D. — It’s not a final goodbye but more like a step back. Hill City’s long-time fire chief Craig Comer has resigned but will remain active in the fire department for the time being.
Colleagues gathered at the Art Anderson Memorial Fire Hall to offer well wishes and words of thanks.
“The chief has got such a big heart, he cares you know? One of his motto that he had all of us take seriously when he first started was ‘Everyone goes home’ and he deeply cares about the well-being of every single firefighter that he has ever sent out on a call” said the new fire chief Howard Schrier.
While reminiscing with the chief, many recounted funny stories of their time together. Fireman Victor Alexander has been part of the fire department since the 1980s.
“I can remember one of the first fires we were on we were on a wildlands fire in the dark and he fell in a mine hole and I‘m thinking to myself somebody from lead walking around out in the dark and he fell in a mine hole in the very first fire that he was on” said Alexander.
Chief Comer says though it was time to hang his helmet after over a decade of service, he says his career would not have been possible without the camaraderie of the firemen and firewomen of the Hill City Fire Department.
“It’s very humbling. Any success that I‘ve had as a chief is directly result of the guys that serve. It’s been a stressful job at times but it’s certainly rewarding and again you can’t do it without the tremendous people around us and I am very fortunate for that” said Comer who is now the Hill City Fire Assistant Chief.
Comer is not totally disappearing from the department, he has been asked to stick around as the assistant to the chief for a transitional period.