Oneida Fire Department bids farewell to retiring deputy chief
ONEIDA — The Oneida Fire Department bid a fond farewell to Deputy Chief Jeff White on Friday as the deputy chief retires and starts the next chapter of his life.
White became a firefighter with the Oneida Fire Department in 1997 before becoming the head mechanic in 2011. By 2013, he earned the rank of lieutenant and was named deputy chief in 2017.
In 2015, White was the recipient of the Charlie Decker Firefighter of the Year award and has received many other commendations throughout his 25-year career with the Oneida Fire Department.
On Friday, a celebration was held with White’s friends and family in attendance, complete with food, drinks, cake, and a speech by Fire Chief Dennis Fields.
“I personally want to thank Jeff White,” Fields said. “I’m sure other chiefs would say the same. Jeff White has done a lot for this Department, even outside his duty time. He’s been an advocate and helped everyone here, and I thank you. And I want to thank you, Jeff, for your friendship.”
“I’ve known Jeff for 30 years,” the chief continued. “Before he joined the Department. He’s been a great friend.”
Fields presented White with his retirement badge, a practice the fire chief started when he first started.
“This is bittersweet,” Fields said. “Thank you.”
White said he didn’t have any real reason why he was retiring — he just felt it was time.
“I want to thank you all,” White said. “I appreciate everyone coming out and everyone I’ve worked with.”
When asked what he planned to do after retirement, White said he runs an auto mechanic’s garage and planned to devote more time to that and spend more time with his family.
“I do look forward to no longer working nights and weekends,” he said. “Or getting up in the middle of the night.”
It’s going to be a tough being away, White said.
“I’ll probably find myself getting up in the middle of the night,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll probably never get used to not being here.”
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