ICYMI: Soer works last day as chief of Cedar Hill Fire Protection District
After more than 45 years with the Cedar Hill Fire Protection District and 27 years as its fire chief, Terry Soer, 64, of Cedar Hill completed his last workday as chief on Dec.
21. On Jan.
1, incoming chief Mick Fischer took over leadership. "I'm sad, but I'm also happy that I will begin a new part of my life," Soer said.
On Soer's last day as chief, about 25 firefighters and members of the board and auxiliary came to Firehouse 1 to help him commemorate his career and celebrate his semi-retirement. Soer, who started with the district as a 19-year-old, will now serve as an on-call consultant for the district, helping Fischer in his new role until December 2018. "It will be a gradual letting go," Soer said, adding that he's glad he won't have to make an abrupt departure. "I've enjoyed working with people every day."
Firefighters lined up outside the firehouse to give handshakes, hugs and kind words. Two firefighters took down the American flag that had been flying over the firehouse and folded it into a triangle. They handed it to Fischer, who gave it to Soer for a keepsake.
Soer had a tear or two after the presentation. "I'm going to miss the camaraderie that goes with the fire service," he said. Colleagues shared their experiences under Soer, with almost everyone commenting on his frugal money management that has kept the district debt free.
"He was amazing with the budget," Fischer said. Assistant Chief Greg Shuster also commented on Soer's financial skills. "The district ran well.
We were never in the hole," Shuster said. "We never had to borrow money to get through. We were close several times, but we made it." Fischer and others also commented on Soer's good nature.
"He was easy to work with. He is always very professional. We had a friendship outside of work and I know he's family-oriented.
He has his first grandbaby coming and he's all wrapped up in that right now. He is faithful to his church," Fischer said. "You wouldn't find a nicer guy," Shuster said.
Del Viehland, chairman of the Cedar Hill district's board of directors, said he has known Soer since they were in the seventh grade at Northwest Junior High School. "He was carrying a big stack of books," Viehland said. "I told him, 'They have lockers for those books.' He told me stopping by the lockers wasn't worth it." Viehland said Soer has been an asset to the district.
"He's a very dedicated person. He put his whole heart into protecting the people of the community," he said. "He's hard to replace. If I had a company, I'd hire him."
Although Soer is sad to leave, he said he's looking forward to retirement. "I'm going to do what I want to do when I want to do it," he said. "There will be less stress and we're expecting a granddaughter at any time." The district held a luncheon for Soer, staffers and auxiliary members.
Then Fischer drove him home.
The next day, Dec.
22, Harlow Eloise Soer arrived, daughter of Soer's son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Andrea Soer, and first grandchild for Terry Soer and his wife, Valerie.