NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — This week on First Responder Friday, we introduce Chief Garry Spain with the North Myrtle Beach Fire Department.

Spain has been the North Myrtle Beach Fire Chief for eight years, and next month, he’ll hang up the gear and take on a new journey: retirement.

“I’m gonna miss my fire department,” Spain said. “This is the only fire chief’s job I ever applied for, and I was fortunate enough to get it.”

Spain started his career with the Raleigh Fire Department, where he served for more than 27 years. He left the department as assistant chief and moved to the Grand Strand for his current role.

“Our fire department is second to none,” Spain said. “I’m very proud of our department. I’m proud of the individuals that work here. I’m proud of the job that they do, and most of all, I’m proud of them, as how they represent our department within the community.”

Spain is responsible for the daily operations of 69 personnel and five stations. It’s something he doesn’t take lightly.

“You have to take this position very seriously, because my firefighters, they leave each morning, they come to work, their family expects them to come home,” he said.

Spain said he’s most proud of how much the department has grown.

“We have enhanced our staff,” he said. “When I first arrived, our ladder truck wasn’t staffed. Now our ladder truck is staffed. It’s just been — I’m proud of the growth that the department has taken.”

Once Spain retires, he plans on moving back to the Raleigh area and has specific plans.

“Whatever my wife wants to do,” he said. “She actually resigned from that career and moved down here with me so that I could live a dream, and you know, it’s my time to give her her time.”

Deputy Fire Chief Billy Floyd will take over the role after Spain’s retirement.

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Melissa Meyers is a weekday morning anchor at News13. She’s from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Melissa moved to Myrtle Beach to work for News13 after graduating from Kent State University. Follow Melissa on Twitter and read more of her work here.