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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Four retiring Shawnee firefighters honored at ceremony

  • Four Shawnee firefighters, with a combined 106 years of service to the city and its residents, were honored during a retirement party Thursday at city hall.
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  • Four Shawnee firefighters, with a combined 106 years of service to the city and its residents, were honored during a retirement party Thursday at city hall.
    For the last time, all heard over emergency dispatch radios a "last call" tone in honor Battalion Chief Curt Lamastus, Capt. Mark Wallace, Capt. Billy Mitchell and Lt. Neal Motley.
    Hearing that final alarm was sentimental, Mitchell said, and signified the end of an era.
    And like most retirements, there were a few comments from co-workers as well as funny stories, some of them poking fun at Lamastus for an incident that happened to him several years ago.
    While on a call at a Shawnee home, the battalion chief's truck being driven on that shift by Lamastus was stolen by two teens and taken on a joyride. The truck was later found crashed in Shawnee.
    It's been a story that Lamastus took much teasing over the years.
    Fire Chief David Short told the crowd the department appreciates each of them for the career they've put in and then presented each of them with a wall plaque, a jacket and the traditional red fire department hat given to retirees.
    With family members, fellow and other retired firefighters along with other city workers present, the group enjoyed visiting and talking about the old times.
    Lamastus, who said his career was a good journey, thanked his co-workers and family for their support.
    Retired Firefighter Rob Branson said he fought fires with every one of them, calling them all "good men."
    Retired chief James Roberts addressed the crowd as well, saying it was great to work with all four.
    "Our business was to take care of the citizens…I'm proud to know every one of you," Roberts said.
    Mitchell said the last call was a realization that retirement is real.
    For Motley and Wallace, who both said firefighting was a great career for them, remembered working some of the bigger events in the state, such as the May 3, 1999 tornadoes and the bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City.
    Lamastus and Mitchell also were among the fire crews that responded to help following the Oklahoma City bombing.
    Mitchell, who said there were many good times, remembered with fondness a call of rescuing a cat from a tree.
    Lamastus said working with a group of firefighters is like being around a second family.
    "It's been a good life and a good job," Lamastus said.

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