David Morris will retire towards the end of December after being hired as a firefighter in 1995.
Lake Oswego Fire Department Battalion Chief Greg Barnum remembers when Deputy Fire Chief David Morris said, âDon’t let the time pass you by. Seize every opportunity when it comes your way. ”
Over the years, Barnum said, he’s seen Morris do just that.
âHe’s worked hard every step of his career. Once Morris got out of probation, he joined the Water Rescue Dive Team. Review.â He did it right. He made some good friends along the way here at Lake Oswego Fire with other city departments and agencies. ”
Morris, who has worked for the LOFD since hiring as a firefighter in 1995, recently announced that his last day with the service would be December 29.
âHe just has a lot of attention and concern for the citizens and the city of Lake Oswego,â said Lt. Russ Thackery of the LOFD. âHe’s been a great mentor to me as well because we got – not only myself, but the whole department – to watch how he put his family first. He’s definitely someone to watch for how. manage the balance between work and family. ”
Morris didn’t always want to be a firefighter. He originally wanted to study criminal justice and become a police officer. But when a volunteer firefighter friend introduced him to this particular path, he decided to become a volunteer firefighter in Forest Grove. Four months later, he moved to the fire station as a volunteer resident.
âThat’s when I realized that people weren’t shooting at me, people weren’t mad at me all the time,â Morris said. “I was making a career change and moved from criminal justice to fire science.”
Morris received his Associate Degree in Fire Science from Portland Community College and nearly completed his Bachelor of Fire Administration with a minor in Communications from Eastern Oregon University.
After Morris was hired as a firefighter in Lake Oswego in 1995, he quickly rose through the ranks. He was promoted to engineer driver in 1999 then lieutenant the following year before later becoming battalion commander. Three of the 12 years in which he held this position, he was the training manager in charge of the training division. During this period, he acquired the administrative skills necessary for the management of a fire department.
Morris landed his current job as Deputy Fire Chief in 2016.
âIt was just one of those situations where I was in the right place at the right time,â Morris said. “It’s just perfect for me.”
While working in Lake Oswego, Morris continued to volunteer with the Forest Grove Fire Department. He plans to continue to remain affiliated with the FGFD after his retirement from LOFD.
âI’m leaving my options open,â Morris said, adding that he was still part of the Oregon Forest Department’s incident management team.
Thackery said Morris wore just about every hat in the organization.
âHe’s the guy you could turn to. He’s got some form of knowledge or some form of experience in every position,â Thackery said. “He has been such a great mentor and role model to all of us here as to what a successful and fulfilling career in the fire service is like.”
Morris considers his stay at Lake Oswego a dream come true. He appreciates having lived in the community since 2009, which he believes has allowed him to engage and build trusting relationships with people.
âEvery day you show up to work to do something you love, so for me that has had a pretty big impact on my life,â Morris said. “It’s pretty special to have been able to achieve some career goals in an organization where I basically started out as a career firefighter.”
Barnum said his dedication to the job has not gone unnoticed.
âDave made sure the citizens of Lake Oswego were always taken care of, leaving a positive impact on those he served,â Barnum said in the email. “No matter what time it was, he showed up for important calls. Even when he was off duty. You could always trust that he would show up to help you.”
Morris said the events he experienced that most affected him during his time at LOFD were the 1996 flood, the pandemic, and the wind and ice storms.
Some of the scariest times “were the windstorms. Some of the most tragic times,” Morris said. “We have seen people die because of trees perched on themâ¦ It makes you realize how fragile life is.”
During the recent Valentine’s Day ice storm, Morris said they made more calls than ever before.
âWe saw heroic things that day,â he said.
And throughout the pandemic, Morris said the department has continued to come together to provide quality service to citizens.
One aspect of Morris’ work that he will miss are the people. He recalls going on parades for children’s birthdays during the pandemic and showing up at special events in the city.
âI’m proud of the fact that we are a community that engages with the public and does things,â he said.
Morris said he is leaving the organization in very good hands.
âLiving in this community is reassuring to know when I leave, we have people who are totally capable of doing all the hero stuff that they’ve been doing all these years, but continue to do it at such a high level. Morris said. âWe have been an organization that has always looked to the futureâ¦ (I am leaving an organization) which is very healthy and provides, in my opinion, one of the best levels of service provided by any fire department in the State.”
Morris plans to work on getting his real estate license and to spend more time with family and friends.
âThe majority of my vacation has been at work over the past 27 years,â he said. “I’m not looking for another 40-50 hour week job, but I’ll stay busy and live in the community.”
âIt’s a voice and a source of local knowledge and history that will always be here in the city for us to access,â Thackery added.
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