Curran bids adieu to PN Fire Department, long career

PORT NECHES — After 40-plus years in the fire service, 11 of which were spent as chief of Port Neches Fire Department, Steve Curran is ready to retire.

On Friday, days before his last day of work, representatives from local cities, fire departments and more came out for Curran’s retirement ceremony and change of command ceremony.

Members of Port Arthur Honor Guard during a retirement celebration and change of command at Port Neches Fire Department on Friday in Port Neches. Mary Meaux/The News

Members of Port Arthur Honor Guard during a retirement celebration and change of command at Port Neches Fire Department on Friday in Port Neches.
Mary Meaux/The News

The pomp filled event, which included the posting of colors by the Port Arthur Honor Guard and U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Brian Shajari on bagpipes, also held humorous moments and reminiscing.

Groves Fire Chief Dale Jackson, who has known Curran for many years, told of how the two rode together while going to the police academy — a requirement for the job, and saw a man trying to stab another man in a field in Beaumont.

Groves Fire Chief Dale Jackson, left, shakes hands with retiring Port Neches Fire Chief Steve Curran before shaking hands with incoming fire chief Paul Nelson during a ceremony on Friday in Port Neches. Mary Meaux/The News

Groves Fire Chief Dale Jackson, left, shakes hands with retiring Port Neches Fire Chief Steve Curran before shaking hands with incoming fire chief Paul Nelson during a ceremony on Friday in Port Neches.
Mary Meaux/The News

“Steve said ‘do you think we should stop? We were both coming from the academy and both were wearing shirts that said ‘cadet’ and we had guns with no bullets,” Jackson said. “I said hell no.”

The men called 911.

“I could stand here all day and talk about Steve and his accomplishments,” he said.

Port Arthur Deputy Chief John Owens, left, shakes hands with Port Neches Fire Chief Steve Curran before shaking hands with incoming fire chief Paul Nelson during a ceremony on Friday in Port Neches. Mary Meaux/The News

Port Arthur Deputy Chief John Owens, left, shakes hands with Port Neches Fire Chief Steve Curran before shaking hands with incoming fire chief Paul Nelson during a ceremony on Friday in Port Neches.
Mary Meaux/The News

Port Arthur Police Deputy Chief John Owens said he and Curran go back 30 or more years. He remembered back to 1988 when he was officer of the year and Curran was firefighter of the year. The men collaborated on various projects including Port Security grants.

Port Arthur Fire Chief Larry Richard, who worked with Curran more than a decade ago, called him a mentor and said he wouldn’t be where he is today without him.

Port Neches Fire Captain Doug Bledsoe, left, presents retiring Fire Chief Steve Curran with a special ax during a retirement celebration on Friday in Port Neches. Mary Meaux/The News

Port Neches Fire Captain Doug Bledsoe, left, presents retiring Fire Chief Steve Curran with a special ax during a retirement celebration on Friday in Port Neches.
Mary Meaux/The News

Incoming Fire Chief Paul Nelson, who has shadowed Curran for the past month, thanked Curran for his service before presenting him with a going away gift.

“I know you plan to travel. In case your phone dies,” Nelson said as Curran opened the gift — a Road Atlas.

Lastly, Curran spoke to the crowd, acknowledging prior and current co-workers and friends and said it was an absolute honor to serve Port Neches.

He also gave credit to Nelson, who was at his side for the ceremony, saying Nelson will do ‘a heck of a job.”

Curran spent 29 years with the Port Arthur Fire Department where he held different positions including that of chief. During that time he worked toward a dispatch upgrade and expansion and facilitated multiple regional grants using the Port Security Grant System. He also served as president of the Sabine-Neches Chief’s Association whose coverage includes Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties among other organizations.

With retirement comes plans to spend time with family and travel and he has been creating a list of people, places and things to see and do upon retirement.

E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

 

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