By Kerrville Daily Times Staff, September 2, 2020
After more than six years on the job, Kerrville Fire Department Chief Dannie Smith will retire from his post on Jan. 1, 2021. Smith has served as KFD’s chief since 2014.
“This is how he wanted it,” said City Manager Mark McDaniel. “The Chief has been contemplating retirement for a few months now, and he wanted to provide notice well in advance to ensure a smooth leadership transition as he finishes a 39-year career as a firefighter Nov. 30.”
This is the second major retirement for the city in the last three weeks. Police Chief David Knight announced he was retiring and would be leaving his post next week.
Smith began his career with the Houston Fire Department in 1981. Since then, he has seen the responsibilities of fire departments expand from a primary focus on putting out fires to include emergency medical services, fire prevention, community outreach and – in the wake of 9/11 – emergency preparedness and homeland security.
Smith spent 22 years with the Houston Fire Department, advancing from a firefighter and emergency medical technician to assistant chief. He was twice honored for valor – the first time after pulling an unconscious man from a burning building on Nov. 1, 1993, and the second time for rescuing a 6-year old girl from the second story of a burning apartment complex on Oct. 26, 1995.
During 2007, Smith led the Texas Fire Chief’s Association’s effort to create the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System (the current statewide fire service mutual aid plan), and in 2008 he was honored as “Texas Fire Chief of the Year” by the Texas Fire Chief’s Association. He has served as an advisory board member for Houston Community College and Texas A&M/TEEX Fire Training programs. He has also served as an instructor for Houston Community College, and the Executive Development Institute at Dillard University in New Orleans, La.
Smith is a native Texan, born and raised in Houston. He and his wife Winona have two adult children and three granddaughters. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Le Tourneau University, and a Master of Public Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington. He has also held the position of fire chief in the cities of Sugar Land, Texas and Pine Bluff, Ark.
“My time with the City of Kerrville has filled me with a sense of purpose and belonging that no other could offer,” Smith said. “I have led the fire department for the past six years, and it has brought a deep sense of purpose to my life. I was blessed to serve in Kerrville, and with the men and women of the Kerrville Fire Department. I will forever cherish my time spent here and will always be grateful for the opportunity.”
Smith said in retirement he is looking forward to spending more time with family, hunting and fishing, and restoring classic cars.
“Chief Smith will be missed on so many levels,” McDaniel said. “His leadership and professionalism are unmatched, and have had an impact beyond his own department into the rest of the organization and community.”
Deputy Fire Chief Eric Maloney has already been named by McDaniel to replace Smith so that the leadership transition can begin immediately.
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