NEWBERRY — Newberry Fire Department honored Kyle Vaughn for his retirement after 22 years with the city’s fire department. The ceremony was held at the Newberry Firehouse Conference Center for Vaughn’s friends, family and colleagues.
Fire Chief Keith Minick said it was a pleasure having Vaughn on staff and they would miss his expertise.
“Kyle was very knowledgeable and instrumental with keeping our 1917 fire apparatus going,” Minick said. “Everyone here has a trait in the fire service that’s unique to them and he brought his.”
Minick said Vaughn was very hands-on and a leader in the department to his colleagues.
Vaughn was presented several gifts on behalf of the fire department as well as the City of Newberry.
The Newberry Honor Guard presented Vaughn with the flag that flew during his final shift with Station 21 the week prior. The Honor Guard is made up of members who volunteer their time to go to retirements, funerals or other circumstances to represent the department in proper fashion, Minick said.
The helmet Vaughn wore as Captain has been retired and was presented to him during the ceremony, along with a fire service window decal.
On behalf of Representative Rick Martin and the South Carolina House of Representatives, Minick read aloud a motion congratulating Vaughn on his retirement and his dedicated service to Newberry.
“We honor Captain Vaughn for his life of valiant service and his tireless devotion to the firefighting brotherhood as he made his family, community and this state understand the true meaning of love they neighbor,” Minick read.
Following the presentation of gifts, the Newberry County Communications Center made a “last call” broadcast in Vaughn’s honor.
The “last call” broadcast, Minick said is something that the department does for retiring members to say their service was appreciated.
While Vaughn has retired from the Newberry Fire Department, Minick said he was still an active member of the fire service as he is chief of Prosperity’s fire department.
Members within the community offered their regards to Vaughn, including Lewis Lee, former fire chief of the Newberry Fire Department.
Lee offered wisdom to Vaughn about what happens when you truly retire, comparing the connections made and lives touched throughout Vaughn’s career to stars in the sky.
“Look up, the sky is full of those stars; the people that you have reached out and touched,” Lee said. “You’ll never know that you truly meant that much.”
City Manager Matt DeWitt said the city was very fortunate for the gifts Vaughn brought to the department and he was surely an inspiration to his colleagues that would come behind him on how to conduct themselves in the fire service.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the job you’ve done for us and the service that you’ve provided,” DeWitt said. “Your gifts and your attributes that you brought to the department will be missed. We wish you the best in your retirement.”
Minick said he had the pleasure of working with Vaughn while he was on shift, being the captain while Vaughn was the lieutenant on shift, to then promoting him in 2012.
“Looking at the printout of fire fatalities around the state, knocking on wood, Newberry wasn’t on that list,” Minick said. “I think that is because of the dedication of people like Kyle that put forth the effort of initiatives like the smoke alarm blitz and making sure the community is safe.”
Vaughn’s years of service were appreciated, Minick said and he wished him well in his retirement.
Vaughn thanked everyone for their outpouring of love and said he was grateful, as he felt undeserving.
“All I did was come to work for 22 years,” Vaughn said.
What made his time great in Newberry, Vaughn said were the people he had the opportunity to work alongside.
“We have a great group of people with great leadership,” Vaughn said. “Not only do we have great staff, but also volunteers.”
Vaughn said the Newberry Fire Department was a strong, family fire department with deep roots, which he felt set them apart from others.
“I will still be around if needed,” Vaughn said to colleagues. “I appreciate everything from the bottom of my heart.”