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Getting to Know You – David Garrett

 

David Garrett, Volunteer Firefighter and EMT, was born and raised in Hancock County. “It’s been a great place to grow up and to serve the community,” he said. “I’ve always tried to help comfort people when they’re having one of their worst days and maybe help make it better.”

He graduated from HCHS on his 18th birthday in 1971. “The Vietnam conflict was still going on and I wanted to serve,” David said, “but I’ve had polio my whole life and wasn’t able to join the military, so I felt led to be a public servant.”

He became an EMT, in addition to his full-time job at Southwire, in 1975 and continues to maintain his certification today. He is a charter member of the Hancock County Rescue Squad and joined the Hawesville Fire Department in 1983, serving until 2005, and retired with rank of Captain. He was also one of the department’s fire investigators and was a certified instructor who taught fire safety classes.

David started out attending the state fire schools every summer in Lexington. He continued his Fire & Arson Investigation training in Owensboro through EKU. He attended the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland in September of ’97 for his formal training. In addition, he attended many different weekend fire schools on specific topics over the years of his service.

In June of 2009, he took the part-time job as Deputy Director of Hancock County Emergency Management and held that position until June of 2019. “I felt the need to serve the county and my neighbors,” he said. “I felt a willingness to serve the people of the area and I wanted to give back because I have been blessed my whole life.”

He’s been retired for a little over 3 years and is a volunteer, still listed as Radiation Officer for Hancock County. He had completed radiation training in Richmond through the rescue squad.

David served as an elected Constable for District 3 for 9 years, from ’86-’89 and again in ’94-’98. “When I was constable,” he said, “I took it seriously. I went through certified fire arms training and took criminal investigation and narcotics investigation through Owensboro Community College. At the time, I did a lot of riding shot gun with local law enforcement officers. A lot of it was on-the-job training.”

Since the tragic church shooting in Charleston, SC in 2015, he has served as a church security officer at different churches, such as Mount Eden Baptist, and is serving along with others at his current church, Living Hope Community, in Owensboro. “It’s sad that it’s needed anymore,” he said.

David’s first job, at 14-years-old, was at Mayfield-Snyder IGA Store in Hawesville. “I worked there for 4 years before I started at Southwire,” he said. “I made so many friends from carrying people’s groceries out and those friends have remained today. Working in the public, I really enjoyed that. It created lifelong friendships.”

He worked at Southwire Rod & Cable for 43 years and retired in July, 2015. He worked in production for over 25 years and then in December, 1997 a new safety position was created. The last 17 years there he was Safety & Security Team Leader.

“People that serve the county in any volunteer position, they’ve got a full-time job somewhere else,” he said. “It takes a real commitment to serve on the volunteer fire department. There is a critical need for firefighters nationwide, not just here in the county. It is a fulfilling career. Even thought it’s unpaid, it’s still a career. I highly recommend it to anyone who is able to take the training to serve. It’s hard work sometimes but it is rewarding.”

He said his greatest mentor was the late Rick Montague. “He’s the best public servant that Hancock County has ever known,” David said. “He was my fire chief for my entire time on the fire department. He served as EM Director for awhile and was one that I served under in emergency management. We taught classes together – fire service, CPR and First Aid. I lost a dear friend when he died 2 years ago.”

David is the son of the late Kenneth & Mary Garrett. “I am thankful that I grew up in a Christian household,” he said. “That was the biggest positive in my life. I feel that Mom & Dad instilled a good work ethic in me. I’ve always tried to do the best job I could in whatever I was doing.” Growing up, he attended Mount Eden Baptist Church with his family and for most of his life. “All the answers are in the Bible,” he said.

David and his wife, Deborah, will be celebrating 30 years of marriage this summer. They currently live on his grandfather’s old home place that has been in the Garrett family since 1926.

They enjoy taking day trips in their spare time. “We concentrate a lot of our traveling just to state parks within Kentucky,” he said. “The last long trip we took was to Traverse City, Michigan about 5 years ago. We like to see the sights within our own state or even Southern Indiana. We really like Natural Bridge State Park.”

They also enjoy bird watching in their back yard and in the area. “We visit Kentucky Lake and went on an eagle watching tour that was really neat. A few years ago, we even had a bald eagle fly right over our house,” he said. “We have little eastern blue birds. They’re really pretty. There is also one we see every once in awhile, an indigo bunting.”

He said he doesn’t have many current hobbies but years ago he used to frequently drag race and do a lot of target shooting, both pistol and long range. “I taught my kids basic hand gun safety when they were growing up,” he said. “Everyone needs some basic knowledge in gun safety.”

David & Deborah are blessed with 8 grandchildren. David’s daughter, Misty Hay, lives in Booneville, KY and his son, Brian Garrett, lives in Evansville. His step-daughter, Sarah Noll, lives in Oregon.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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