Putnam Township’s retiring fire chief celebrated his last day with the department surrounded by the community he has served for more than 40 years.

It was more than two decades ago that Greg Amburgey followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the township’s fire department. Amburgey has served as fire chief for the last 21 years and has helped build the department into the well-oiled machine that it is now, according to township Treasurer Pat Carney. Carney says when Amburgey’s father was chief, he pushed for a new fire hall that is now the former station located East on M-36. Carney says not more than a week had passed since the younger Amburgey became chief that he came to Carney’s office, also with ideas for a new fire station, which sits West on M-36. Carney went on to say that Amburgey helped him to understand various components of the department and ways to better its ability to serve the community.

Amburgey’s last day with the department was Friday and a retirement party was held at the township’s fire station, later hearing from Central Dispatch as they called in his last tone. The party was attended by colleagues, friends and family who came to wish the outgoing chief well and to enjoy his well-deserved retirement. Amburgey plans to spend his retirement traveling with his wife Betsy; beginning with a trip to Colorado to visit friends. He adds they want to check some things off their bucket list, but for right now, they’ll enjoy their place up north, relaxing and “watching the trees grow”. Betsy too says Putnam Township has been a great place to live and has enjoyed being a part of the community.

Amburgey’s successor is Curt Ruf, who comes from the Brighton Area Fire Authority. Ruf wished Amburgey well, adding that he left behind an incredible department as Ruf prepares to take on his new role. Ruf says, "Congratulations to Chief Amburgey on a great career here in Putnam Township...He's really built a great department and I just have really big shoes to fill."

Amburgey tells WHMI he’ll miss the members of the department and staff, as well as serving the community, but felt it was the right time to begin a new journey adding, “There’s a time in life when you decide it’s time for new eyes and I made a decision it was time for me to move on and let somebody else come in and run the department.” Still, Amburgey looks forward to what's still to come and says, “I’m walking out on a high side…can’t be any better than this when you leave like this.” (DK)