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July 7, 2017 – Today at at 7:58 am the Grass Valley Emergency Command Center (ECC) toned out all western Nevada County fire departments. Communications Operator Tony Peard wrote and read the following retirement message for Nevada County Consolidated Fire Lieutenant Robert Penn:

Grass Valley to Western Nevada County Fire Agencies, standby for a message.

Grass Valley to Western Nevada County Fire Agencies with a message:
In a few minutes, Nevada County Consolidated Fire Lieutenant Robert Penn is retiring after 36 years of service.

Grass Valley continuing:
Rob started his career in the fire service in February of 1981 – joining the Watt Park Fire Protection District at the age of 14. When he was 16, with a driver’s license in hand, he became an Engineer. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon to find the Watt Park squad in the parking lot of Nevada Union High School. In 1984, he joined CDF on a winter job detail at the Nevada City Forestry Fire Station, and when he turned 18, he became a seasonal – working at several NYP stations, including Higgins Corner, Nevada City, Columbia Hill and Auburn.

Grass Valley continuing:
Rob worked for both Watt Park Fire and CDF through September 1988, and on October 5, 1988, he was hired on full time at Watt Park as a Fire Captain – Captain 5811. Watt Park eventually became a part of Nevada County Consolidated Fire, and after 36 years, 4 months and 15 days – he’s nearly complete with his last shift at Station 86.

Grass Valley continuing:
For those who know him, that thing that stands out about Rob is his personality. He’s constantly entertaining those who surround him with his impersonations, his stories, the one-liners and the cartoons, or “Captoons.” When it comes to firefighting, he’s the best of the best. He’s mentored countless new firefighters, and he sets the bar for the delivery of professional service to the constituents of the District. When he’s not on duty – he’s still working – from driving water tenders, to plowing for CalTrans … drummin’ for a band or even being a spokesperson for Mercy General.

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Grass Valley continuing:
On a personal note – on December 17, 1995 – Rob invited a 13-year-old kid over to Watt Park Fire for a ride along. Little did we know at the time – but from that day forward – I was hooked. There wasn’t a weekend, holiday, or school break that would go by without me riding along. I am forever grateful for my friends and family in the fire service – for the experience, the memories, the good times, and for the opportunities that have come out of it – but if it wasn’t for you, Rob, and that invitation 21 1/2 years ago, who knows where I’d be… or if I’d be sitting here behind the mic today – having the honor of reading your retirement message.

Grass Valley continuing:
With all that being said Rob, the time is now 0800 hours, and you – my friend, are retired.
On behalf of all of us here at the Grass Valley ECC, along with all of your friends and family standing with you this morning, or listening on the radio – thank you for your dedicated service to your community, and we wish you the best in your retirement.

Nevada County Fire clear at 0800 hours. WRG624.