This week marks the final days of Golder Ranch Fire District’s Assistant Chief Patrick Abel’s tenure; fighting fires for the Southern Arizona community.

The department announced in a press release that Abel’s final day of service would be Wednesday, May 31. Abel began his time at GRFD back in 1988, serving the area for over 35 years.

Throughout his extensive years of service, Abel has served as a firefighter, lieutenant, engineer, battalion chief, among other crucial roles. Abel also graduated from the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy.

But Abel’s long list of accolades doesn’t end there he currently serves as the fire district’s representative at the local, regional and state levels.

Furthermore, with some help from the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association and National Fallen Firefighters Association, he worked to create the Arizona Local Assistance State Team (AZ LAST). This group provides aid to fire agencies across the state when there is a Line of Duty Death.

GRFD Fire Chief Tom Brandhuber spoke on the upcoming retirement of his long-time co-worker.

We appreciate Chief Abels over 35 years of service to the Golder Ranch Fire District as well as his service throughout the state of Arizona. Chief Abel has been an integral part of the GRFD and has been a huge part of the Arizona LAST Team, as well as a key member of Arizona Fire Districts, Brandhuber said.

Abel has managed to give back and support the Southern Arizona community through other mediums as well: He serves as the president of the Board of Directors for IMPACT of Southern Arizona and is a member of the Oro Valley Optimist Club.

“I have been blessed to have worked in an environment, and with people, that share similar values that I do. The philosophy of, ‘Serving the community with Strong Hands and Caring Hearts,’ is not just the GRFD motto, but how we live. It has been my honor to be a part of an organization that strives to go above and beyond to serve our fire family and our community, Abel said in a statement.