37-year firefighter Bill Randall retires from Red, White & Blue in Breckenridge
BRECKENRIDGE — The community bid farewell this week to Capt. Bill Randall, a firefighter who officially retired after 37 years of service with the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District in Breckenridge.
On Wednesday morning, firefighters and staff gathered around Randall at the Main Street fire station for a ceremonial flag lowering, after which he was presented with the flag and given a final lift home in a fire engine, capping a long career in public safety. Chief Jim Keating said Randall’s retirement was well-earned but that his absence in the department would be palpable.
“It’s a considerable loss,” Keating said. “There are a lot of people he’s worked with and mentored along the way. He knows the history, and he knows how hard the department has had to work to get where it is today and what it takes to keep us there. He’s seen it all and done it all and has just been a really solid part of the department.”
Randall is a New York native, but he’s always called Summit County home. He moved to Breckenridge with his parents when he was little and graduated from Summit High School. He dove into the world of firefighting almost immediately after.
Randall joined the Red, White & Blue as a volunteer in 1983, when he was just 18 years old, and never looked back. He spent his first 20 years with the district as a volunteer, working his way up the ranks to battalion chief. For Randall, the appeal was in the thrill.
“Anybody who becomes a firefighter can tell you that fighting fires is exciting,” Randall said. “You train for it, and you hope for good outcomes on every fire you go on. You’re riding around in a fire engine with the lights and sirens. It was the excitement. It was something that kept my interest for a long time.”
In his free time, Randall said he dabbled in summer construction jobs and ski patrolling until becoming an EMT. While living in Breckenridge, Randall served as a paramedic in Denver, and in 1991, he joined the Summit County Ambulance Service. He also met his wife, Kris, at the department. They were married in 1988.
Randall became a career firefighter with the Red, White & Blue in 2003 and worked his way up from driver to captain. Now, after 37 years of service, he’s decided to step away from the department. He said there was still plenty of excitement toward the end of his career but that years of missions had weighed on him.
Though mostly, he said he’s just looking for some warmer weather. Up next is a move to Grand Junction, where he plans to take full advantage of his free time.
“After growing up here for most of my life, I’m ready to get out of the mountains,” Randall said. “… Right now, I’m going to concentrate on golfing and all of the work my wife has for me to do.”
Kris, who works as an emergency room technician at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, said she’s excited about the move, as well.
“He’s happy, and it’s time,” she said. “It starts to take a toll on you after a while seeing all those calls and doing all that stuff. So he’s pretty excited. He put in a long career.”
And while Randall’s departure certainly makes an impact on the Red, White & Blue, he said he’d also miss his “second family” at the fire station.
“I met my wife at the department,” Randall said. “Both my kids grew up through the fire department. That’s not something everybody can say. There’s been a bunch of good times. They’re my second family, and I have friendships that will last an eternity there.”
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