WFD holds ceremony in honor of Stuart’s 35 years of service

Weiser Fire District hosted a ceremonial retirement party for Assistant Chief John Stuart. Stuart is pictured with his son Johnny Stuart who presented him with a helmet. Others presented him with a mounted firefighter’s ‘pickhead’ axe, a turnout jacket signed by the department’s firefighters, the folded flag from the two-man honor guard presented by Fire Chief Tim Atwood and Stuart’s last call from dispatch with a message of gratitude and well wishes for the future. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
Family, friends, colleagues, and other community members gathered at the Weiser Fire District station on Wednesday, Oct. 25, to celebrate Assistant Chief John Stuart’s retirement.
 Stuart served the community for more than 35 years while also serving as CEO at MTE (Midvale Telephone Exchange), from which he will also retire at the end of December, he told the Signal American.
 “As firefighters, when we describe the characteristics we strive to achieve during our careers, we use words like service, honor, duty, tradition, and when I think of those words and what they mean to me, I see the firefighters I have known during my career and John Stuart is one of those people,” said WFD Chief Tim Atwood as he fought back his emotions. “When I think of those firefighters that have achieved much in their time, John Stuart is on the top of that list.”
 Atwood said that despite only knowing Stuart for about five years – when he arrived from Nampa as Weiser’s new chief – he quickly grew to respect the consummate professional for his expertise, knowledge, and dedication.
 “Countless times, John Stuart has gotten out of bed in the middle of the night or left the dinner table to respond to someone’s call for help,” Atwood said. “Whether it was a medical call, a house fire, car fire or just a lift assist, John Stuart responded. Sometimes those were friends or his neighbors, often times they were strangers unknown to John, but it didn’t matter to him; John was always there to help.
 “Countless times John Stuart and I had lengthy conversations concerning what we face as leaders in the fire service. John Stuart’s counsel, his calm, quiet management style, has been invaluable to me. I can only speak about the last five years here at the Weiser Fire District. In that time, we have taken on many challenges and overcome many obstacles … One of those obstacles was developing a new policy manual – exciting stuff. John’s management experience was essential to our task. He stuck with me through countless hours of conference calls, web meetings, text messages, and emails. John, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
 Others offered similar experiences, including son-in-law Lyndon Haines who said, in part, “On behalf of all the firefighters that have served alongside you through these past 35 years, thank you. Thank you for your willingness to pass your knowledge and wisdom down to the generations of firefighters that have come and will come after you.”
 Stuart received a helmet, mounted firefighter’s “pickhead” axe, and turnout jacket signed by the department’s firefighters, all of whom stood at attention and saluted as a two-man honor guard folded a flag, which Atwood formally presented to him.
 In closing, Washington County dispatch made one last call out to Stuart, all those in service at that moment, including police in their cruisers and firefighters with their hand-held radios, listening over the frequency to a message of gratitude and well wishes for the future.
 “Yeah, that was more than I expected,” Stuart said, expressing his gratitude to everyone who participated and attended the ceremony.
 Many who attended openly acknowledged Stuart’s wife and the rest of his family who endured his absence on countless occasions.
 Carol Stuart seemed to beam with pride for her husband, but also said that she is looking forward to his retirement from both the WFD and MTE.
 “He’s pretty special,” she told the Signal American. “We started dating a few days after I turned 16 and we have been together all of these years; we’ve been married 45 years. There was only one time when I was scared: he was up by the radio tower and it came across (the emergency scanner) and he said, ‘It’s 360 around me.’ That meant that the fire was surrounding him and that scared me. So, what did he say? ‘It’s not that bad; not a big deal.’”
 Carol and John say they plan on doing some traveling.
 “I’m excited,” Carol said. “We have a trip already planned. We are just going to do fun stuff together.”


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

Upcoming Events

Connect with Us