Capt. Jeff Sport, who has served with the Waxahachie Fire Department for more than 20 years, is retiring after his last day on shift Monday.

“This is the only place that I have been a firefighter at. I started here as a firefighter and have just been promoted up through the ranks,” Sport said. “When I retire Monday, I will be a month and a half to two months shy of 21 years. I turned 52 in April and that is not to say that I can’t still do it but with the older you get, like anything else, the harder it gets,” Sport said.

“From the time when I came to work here this whole department has changed,” he said. “We have much better equipment, much more modern equipment. The open top Mack Fire trucks that you see in some of the pictures, when I came to work here those Macks were our first out rescue trucks. They were not just (vehicles) that got stuck in the parade every once and awhile.”

Before entering the fire service Sport ran heavy equipment but was introduced to the career after seeing friends who were successful in it. His advice to anyone wanting to go into fire service as a career is that the more knowledge, education and resources a person has the more successful he or she will be.

“When you hire somebody you are supposed to retire before they do,” Fire Chief David Hudgins said. “Capt. Sport has been that type of person that you always could count on. If you told him to take a hose line around the side of the building or do this or that you never had to check on him or worry.

“He is the type of person that would let you know if there was a problem and would let you know when everything was under control,” Hudgins said. “We are definitely going to be losing something when you have a man that has worked himself up all the way to captain and has got the experience level that he has. Anytime you lose a person that you can totally count on there will be a little bit of a curve on for that to come back. I wish him a happy retirement and the best.”

As part of his plans for his retirement, Sport plans to spend more time with his family and work on the property he owns near Abilene.

“I have got 200 acres out toward Abilene and I’ve got cows and stuff out there. It will give me more time to be able to get the things accomplished that I want to do,” he said. “On 200 acres there is always something that needs to be done and something that needs to be re-fenced.

“There will be more time for family,” he said. “That is one thing people don’t realize with this job is you miss a lot of Christmases, vacations, holidays, birthdays and things like that. So that won’t be the case anymore,” he said.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninew.com or 469-517-1458.