A longtime member of the Brighton Area Fire Authority who has retired after decades of service was celebrated by the community at a packed send-off party.

Captain/Fire Inspector Don Hall is said to have served in every role at BAFA, holding the title of deputy chief for several years and retiring last week as an inspector. He was just a teenager when he began his career in the fire service 50 years ago. Hall considered going off to Vietnam but didn’t follow through; instead working as the fire chief at General Motors’ Proving Grounds in Milford and as BAFA’s training officer before being hired on at BAFA full-time in 2005. Former Fire Chief Larry Lane says at that time they had an arrangement with GM so that the company paid Hall's wages, but allowed the Fire Authority to also use him.

Hall says he never expected the Fire Authority to become as big as it has and has seen many changes over the course of 50 years working in the fire service. Hall says during that time brush fires became less prevalent compared to structure fires, there was a shift from using ground to aerial ladders and, he jokes, people began locking their doors, which meant firefighters had to start learning how to pry them open.

A retirement party for Hall was held Thursday at Brewery Becker in downtown Brighton. The packed event drew not only local friends and colleagues, but firefighters from all over Michigan and out of state that have been influenced and shaped by Hall. That’s fitting, according to BAFA Fire Chief Michael O’Brian, who says Hall has made a huge impact on numerous firefighters over a long period of time. O'Brian says that positive impact is a true measure of a person's career, adding that Hall left the fire service better than he found it.

Commonly said among those that know him is that Hall has a great sense of humor and, despite that he is self-proclaimed as a man of few words, supposedly could have had a successful career as a stand-up comedian. Hall says he’ll miss his colleagues but teases that they’ll be around and he can always stop in and see them if he really wants to. He tells WHMI he’ll be spending his retirement in the area, but is looking forward to "taking it easy for once". (DK)