Bradley County Fire and Rescue Chief Dewey Woody has submitted his resignation to accept a position with the State Fire Marshall’s Office in Nashville.
County Mayor G. GaryDavis praised Chief Woody "for the job he has done in transitioning the County Fire and Rescue Department from a volunteer department to one of the most professional departments in Tennessee."
“Chief Woody has always made fire protection for the entire County the top priority,” County Mayor Davis said. “For the past 12 years Chief Woody has been very instrumental in helping Bradley County build an award winning fire department which is admired by professional firefighters across the state.”
County Mayor Davis said a search has begun for Chief Woody’s replacement. In the meantime he expects to have an interim chief in place within a matter of days.
“I wish Chief Woody and his family the very best in his new position as director of the Arson and Bomb Section of the State Fire Marshall’s Office,” County Mayor Davis said.
Chief Woody serves on the board of the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association and chairs the statewide Mutual Aid Task Force developing standards and methods of assisting Tennessee communities in disaster situations. He served three years as president of the Tri-State Mutual Aid Association, the organization that coordinates community assistance in Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.
He teaches bomb and arson Investigation at the Cleveland State Community College Law Enforcement Academy and provides safety and medical services at the academy’s shooting range training and qualifications.
With continuing education as a major theme in his career, Chief Woody is currently completing requirements for Fire Officer 4, a distinction held by only nine other people in Tennessee. He has a passion for keeping people safe and acts on that passion by teaching a firefighter safety class across the state on his own time, it was stated. He wrote and designed the class, which includes moving coverage of his own experiences with line-of-duty accidents and deaths. This year, Chief Woody coordinated the Tennessee Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service held in September at the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy in Bell Buckle.
Chief Woody started volunteering at age 15 in the Cleveland Police Explorer. He served three years as military police (MP) in the U.S. Army. Upon his return, he worked a year at the Bradley County Sheriff’s office before joining the Cleveland Police Department serving as traffic officer and SWAT Team leader for 16 years. All the while he was volunteering at the Bradley County Rescue Service, serving four years as volunteer chief. As a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), he has also worked part-time for Bradley County Emergency Medical Services.
In 2000, he became the first full-time fire chief, and only paid employee, of the Bradley County Fire Department. At the time, BCFR had six volunteer stations operating on their own, with a commander in each community around the county. In the past 12 years, Woody says the department has become one department training together, answering calls together, “a real team.”
Through the years, Bradley County Fire Department merged with rescue to become Bradley County Fire-Rescue and contracted to provide Charleston fire protection. With rescue headquarters, the Charleston station and two newly built stations, the department has now grown to 10 stations, 42 paid employees and 65 volunteers. And the growth continues. Three stations, six additional trucks and 24 additional full-time firefighters are on the way within the year.
“The reputation of this department and its capabilities is known all around this region and state,” Chief Woody said. “They are known as good neighbors, responding to assist other departments. Other agencies know that when it’s bad, Bradley County will help. I am so honored to be associated with this innovative, always-improving department.”
He told the officers of BCFR Monday night, “This department has been a source of pride for me for 29 years and holds a special place in my heart. It has been my deepest honor to serve as your chief and will be my honor to continue to serve Bradley County and all Tennessee counties in my new role.”
Chief Woody said that while he is resigning his full-time position as chief, he is honored to always remain on the Bradley County Fire-Rescue roster as a lifetime volunteer. “I did not seek this opportunity; rather it came looking for me. The opportunity is humbling and an honor to even be considered.”