MORIN POINT -- A local fire chief who has served over six decades is trading in his fire gear to spend time on his “Fire Bike.”
Morin Point Volunteer Fire Department’s longtime Chief Bob Morin has decided to call it a career after spending 60 years serving his community. Morin joined the fire department on Feb. 1, 1962 and has served as its chief since 1989. He said that while he enjoyed his life in service, he knew it was time to move on to retirement.
“I got 60 years in, and June 5th I’ll be 80 years old,” he said. “To be honest with you, I just don’t have the ‘get-up’ like I used to. I think it’s time. I was hoping I could make 60 (years).”
Morin grew up in Morin Point (named after a relative) and attended Mason schools. He explained that being raised in this area made him want to join the department and stay on it for so many years.
“I (wanted) to help the community,” he said.
There was another inspiration for joining, as well. Morin’s father was a firefighter, and young Morin would watch his dad fighting big fires while he helped pull hoses and performed other tasks. The chief of his father’s department soon took notice of the young man’s abilities and interest.
“(He) said, ‘Get over here. Here’s an application. Take it and sign up!’,” Morin said. “So, I did, and I was on there a few years and just went up the ladder.”
Morin said one of the first fires he faced created a lasting memory. During the fire, barrels of chemicals were exploding, and it instantly reminded him of another place he had been, on the other side of the world.
“I put 14 months in Vietnam,” he said. “It reminded me of over there, when it was going off.”
When he was eventually asked to become chief, Morin was initially reluctant.
“I turned it down the first time,” he said. “All the older chiefs and officers said, ‘No, you’ve got to take (the chief position).’ So, I did.”
Morin said that some of his best memories include helping people in dire situations, such as pulling them out of cars and other rescues.
Another memory he shared was from a parade in Erie, during which a minivan struck a fire vehicle that Morin was standing on. Morin lunged at the last moment and narrowly escaped being struck by the van.
He added that someone once told him that he had “nine lives like a cat.”
“I don’t know how many I got left, though,” Morin joked.
Morin’s son, John Morin, grew up watching his dad fight fires, as well. He said that he was equally inspired to join the fire department, on which he served for 17 years.
“I can remember the radio going off and them going out on calls,” John Morin said. “He was on the fire department basically his whole adult life. It was an inspiration.”
John explained that he was happy to see the community come out in support of his father’s service. The department recently honored him with a dinner and reception, with members of other regional fire departments present to send him off with a lifetime achievement award and a lamp made from an air tank commonly used by firefighters.
Morin was also awarded a community service plaque by the Erie Township board during a recent meeting.
“They did some nice things for him,” John Morin said.
Now that Chief Morin is retired, he said that he wants to spend some time on his pride and joy, a special three-wheeled motorcycle that he calls the “Fire Bike.”
John explained that, following 9/11, Harley-Davidson started making special firefighter-edition motorcycles. Both father and son decided to each get one. However, on a ride in Florida about six years ago, they were involved in a traffic accident. Instead of totaling the cycles, they decided to modify Bob Morin’s motorcycle into a three-wheeled “fire bike.”
“You’ve never seen anything like it,” Bob Morin said. “It’s sweet.”
John said that it is a common sight to see “Mr. Bob” riding his special cycle around town since then. Morin recently attended a motorcycle event at Daytona Beach, Fla., and his special cycle won two trophies.
Morin said that he is happy when looking back on his career, but now he is ready to enjoy the fruits of his labors.
“It was a good run,” he said. “(Now) I want to ride that (motorcycle) and run my pontoon boat.”
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Morin Point Fire Chief Bob Morin retires after 60 years