VINTON–Lt. John Hobbs from Vinton’s Fire and EMS Department was recognized by Vinton Town Council for his 21 years of service to the town at their meeting on December 15. He is retiring at the end of December although he will continue to serve as a volunteer.
He was also honored at a reception at the fire station on December 17. Vinton Mayer Brad Grose thanked Hobbs and noted that it was fortunate for the community that the career which was so fulfilling to Hobbs personally also greatly benefitted the community.
Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Chief Steve Simon commended Hobbs for serving the town and county well, for being a liaison between the town and county departments, and for his friendship. Simon had precepted Hobbs when he was training as a paramedic.
Town Manager Chris Lawrence described Hobbs as a gracious, humble, and calm individual who always kept the citizens first. He also praised him for his work in training other emergency workers as they joined the department.
Deputy Chief Chris Linkous said he had worked with Hobbs for all of his 21 years in the department as one of the original medics in 1994. He described Hobbs as the “cornerstone” who helped get the organization off the ground.
Wayne Guffey, Assistant Chief of the First Aid Crew, also thanked Hobbs and presented him with a volunteer application. Police Lt. Mark Vaught presented him with a plaque from the Vinton Police Department honoring his years of dedicated service.
Hobbs started as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown department in Dryden, Virginia, in 1979. He was one of the charter members. He volunteered and became an EMT in 1989 after he came home from the Army.
“I liked it so much that I went to paramedic school at the Roanoke Community Hospital College of Health Sciences in 1992,” said Hobbs. “Vinton ran an ad in the Roanoke Times asking for ALS providers for a new career system that they were starting. I placed my application with Clay Goodman and was granted an interview and was hired. I enjoyed working in Vinton and decided to make a career in the Town.”
Hobbs started out as a Paramedic in 1994 and became a Senior Paramedic in 1995. At that time, fire and rescue were separate entities. The town changed the titles of Linkous and Hobbs to Lieuenants. It was then decided to merge the two departments into one.
“Linkous became the Captain and I stayed the Lieutenant,” said Hobbs. “Chris was responsible for all things fire-related and I was responsible for all things medical-related. I would spec (build) new ambulances, all EMS equipment, and suggest new and better things to do to expand and bring the department into the future. We were a young department and trying to establish our name and service in the Roanoke Valley.”
Hobbs said that it had always been a pleasure to work for the Town of Vinton and the department as it grew from two separate organizations into just one now. He said he appreciates being given the opportunity to practice his profession and to serve the citizens of the town.