Ennis fire chief hangs up his hat after 36 years

Jeff Aycock reflects on long career of service with municipality's fire department

Patty Hullett
Daily Light correspondent
Retiring Ennis Fire Chief Jeff Aycock stands alongside one of his department's fire vehicles. Aycock is retiring after 36 years of service.

ENNIS — Recently retiring Fire Chief Jeff Aycock says, “I have deep roots in Ennis, my hometown – and what a huge blessing to work where I grew up! My city has always been an excellent place to live. And the people ... they are just great folks. It’s a comfortable setting when everyone knows everyone else (for the most part). It is an awesome city with great leadership and an amazing community to call home for all my 61 years.”

Captain Jeff Gray presents a rifle to retiring Ennis Fire Chief Jeff Aycock (right) at Aycock's retirement reception on Dec. 16.

Firefighting memories

Aycock started as a volunteer fireman with Ennis in 1977. He went to work full-time in 1982 for about 18 months. However, he left for a brief few years, but came back in 1986. He recalls, “It was at that point in my life that I knew that firefighting was my life’s calling. I also currently have a son who is a firefighter/ paramedic with the city of Waxahachie.”

Aycock is proud to say that he served 10 years as Fire Chief for Ennis, 21 years as Fire Captain, and five years as Lieutenant and firefighter.

“One of the most memorable fires I recall,” says Aycock, “was the huge blaze in Waxahachie on Oct. 3, 2011. The entire factory and its structures for Magnablend were engulfed. It was a really a tough fire because we lost a ladder truck completely. It was not the worst fire I’ve ever seen, but I’ve been involved in many – especially in Ennis when I have personally known the people who have been directly affected by the fire and even sustained serious injuries. Those are the ones that really have hurt me deeply.”

Aycock recalls many memorable times during his 10-year tenure as chief. He relays, “To experience our department’s growth by adding stations and manpower was such a blessing. To me, I’ve enjoyed having the best group of guys to work with ever! My most proud achievement is the way I’ve gotten to see our department work through many, many accomplishments by using a consecrated ‘team’ effort. That’s what firemen do best – they work together to get the best results possible.”

Retiring Ennis Fire Chief Jeff Aycock (right) stands with the new fire chief, Bill Evans.

A final farewell

Aycock’s official retirement date was Dec. 31, 2021, but the city had a retirement reception in his honor on Dec. 16.

Mayor Angie (Wingo) Juenemann expresses her final thoughts upon the man’s final days in office: “Chief Jeff Aycock was a committed servant and leader to the city of Ennis for 36 years. His passion for his career and for being a true ‘first responder’ who led by example, will be missed sorely by many.”

The mayor continues, “He is wished all the best by his city family and the citizens of Ennis, as he transitions into a life filled with family and fishing. He certainly deserves some personal time with his family after all these years of dedicated service.”

The head of the Christian organization, called “Pray Ennis”, is Ms. Betty Honza. She has spent many years praying with the chief in various junctures over his time as he and his department protected the city.

Honza says, “It has been a pleasure knowing Chief Aycock. My late husband Charlie would always talk about what a good fisherman Jeff was! But I got to know him more privately as a prayer partner in our Ennis City Hall prayer group.”

She carries on, “Jeff Aycock is the real deal when it comes to being a committed Christian. His faith and trust in Jesus Christ is his strength. He values his family. He has led our Ennis Fire Department with wisdom and integrity. He has a deep love for the city of Ennis. What he has established here will live on and he will be honored for it.”

Parker Aycock (grandson), Jeffrey Aycock (son), and retiring Chief Jeff Aycock.

A new life to lead in retirement

This happy-to-retire chief didn’t waste any time hanging around town or deciding what his new gig in life would look like. He already had it mapped out. He and his family have recently picked up and moved to the Lake Fork area, in Alba, Texas. And Aycock happily confirms that they are in the process of getting a house built on the property they have purchased.

And in two short words, this is why he has moved away from his beloved hometown….. "fishing" and "grandchildren!"

To conclude, Aycock relays the following message, “Ennis and the department have been so great to my family and myself. I wish nothing but the best for the city and their outstanding Fire Department. I will be the official cheerleader for the Ennis FD as it continues to grow. And I congratulate the new Fire Chief Bill Evans. He has spent five years as Deputy Chief and has served 17 years with the department. I know he will continue to do an excellent job for our fine city.”

“In the future, if anyone is trying to track me down, don’t look for me at home," Aycock adds. "I’ll be out fishing on the lake or playing outside with my three grandchildren. And as a side note, I’ll still be visiting my hometown frequently, as I still have one precious grandchild living there, so my ties to Ennis will always remain intact.”