Firefighter Bobby Hice has been holding his breath for the past five or so years, waiting for a certain spot to open up in the Enterprise Fire Department ranks. He’s been on the promotion list for captain several times, but just missed the opportunity, because the slots were filled. With only 12 captains in the department, following Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, he breathed a sigh of relief as he was added to this select list of leaders.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted,” Hice said. “Actually, it’s more than I’ve expected.”
Hice has been with the Enterprise Fire Department for 16 years, a firefighter for about 20, starting in Ozark. He got into the business to help people. But now in this new position, he’s not just helping the citizens of Enterprise, but also mentoring new firefighters coming up through the ranks. At 54, Hice is the oldest active-duty firefighter in the department. While the position may be new to him, the lessons aren’t.
“A lot of it goes back to the training and the officers prior to me that I’ve been under and the guidance that they’ve given me. I’m just taking all of that information and I hope to pass it on to the guys under me so that maybe they can step into this role one day.”
It’s a role that Hice says he’s still processing. His family has seen him struggle with the disappointment of coming up just short.
“My wife has seen me be on the edge of almost being promoted and having to wait again for the next one to come up. She’s very proud of me,” he said with his eyes glistening. “I’ve worked hard.”
That work ethic is what Enterprise Fire Chief Christopher Davis said he’s seen consistently out of Hice.
“Bobby has been a solid member of our department for years. He’s worked hard and I am thrilled to finally see him pin captain,” Chief Christopher Davis said. “I know he will continue to mentor others in the department and I’m excited for the future of Enterprise Fire under his watch.”
Hice will now serve as Captain at the Eastside Fire Station on Rucker Boulevard, the same station he started in years ago.
“Before, I always had the officers above me that would oversee everything. Now that I’m in this role having to oversee everything and watch other firefighters instead of doing it myself. I’ve only been in it now for a week, but it’s a dream come true.”