FORNEY, Texas — Longtime Forney Fire Department Chief Rick Townsend has announced his retirement, the City of Forney stated in a press release today.

Townsend began his career with the Forney Fire Department 44 years ago — on April 10, 1976. Following a 30-year career with the Garland Fire Department, Townsend assumed the role of Fire Chief with the Forney Fire Department in 2006. During that time, he served the Forney Fire Department as a volunteer in multiple roles.

A reception will be held for Townsend on his last day of service, April 10, 2020.

Complete press release from the City of Forney:

After an illustrious career with the Forney Fire Department, Fire Chief Rick Townsend has announced his plans to retire after more than 44 years of exceptional service to the City of Forney. Chief Townsend began his career with the Forney Volunteer Fire Department on April 10, 1976 and two years later would be hired as professional with the Garland Fire Department. In 2006 he retired from the Garland Fire Department to assume the role as chief with the Forney Fire Department, where he has continued to serve in that capacity.

In his career, Chief Townsend has overseen the Forney Fire Department evolve from a volunteer-based organization to one that now has 37 full-time employees across two stations in Forney. Chief Townsend is also responsible for implementing and enhancing many of fire/community partnerships, including the annual holiday “Toys for Forney Kids” Toy Drive. Chief Townsend was also key figure in improving our relations with other emergency response partners including those in Kaufman County and North Texas.

Chief Townsend said, “I have been blessed to work with many great people over the years and have been privileged to serve our community in numerous areas. I still plan to continue helping my friends and neighbors after retirement but without wearing a fire helmet.”

“It has been an honor to have the opportunity to work with Chief Townsend, for selfish reasons for myself and the City, I would like the Chief to continue in his role of Fire Chief.” said City Manager Tony Carson. “However, I understand that he has earned the right to enjoy his upcoming retirement. I wish him well and thank him for his leadership of the Forney Fire Department.”

The City is extremely grateful to Chief Townsend for his service to both our community and Fire Department. A reception for Chief Townsend will be held prior to his last day of service, on April 10, 2020.