ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) — The Rocklin Fire Department celebrated the retirement of one of their volunteer firefighters after 60 years in the fire service.
Volunteer Assistant Chief Lee “Smokey” Browning devoted 60 years of his life to the fire service and 54 of those years with the Rocklin Fire Department after joining it in 1968.
“We could go on and on about all the Chief Browning has done over the years,” The Rocklin Firefighters wrote in a Facebook post. “His hands have touched and his dedication influenced more in this city then we will ever know.”
Browning got his start in the fire service in 1962 after forging his mother’s signature when he was 15 to take up an assistant position with the Dry Creek Fire Department.
He would then join the Roseville Fire Department in 1964.
Browning associated his decision to join the fire service with his upbringing in Sebastopol.
“I was taught to help people no matter what their situation was,” Browning said. “There is just something in a person that makes them not sit back and say it isn’t my job.”
One of the more memorable moments in Browning’s long career was when he got a call from the father of a baby he had recently delivered.
“It is not often that you get a call where you aren’t stressed or in a hurry,” Browning said. “I think in my entire career that was the only call like it.”
Browning and his former chief went to the mans home where the two firefighters got bar-b-que and were presented with framed copies of the baby girl’s birth certificate.
Browning was instrumental in creating Rocklin’s Easter egg hunt and Santa Tours.
In 2012, Browning was recognized for 45 years of service to the city of Rocklin by having his name engraved into the stone marker of Fire Station 23 located at 4060 Rocklin Road.
The Rocklin City Council will be commending Browning for his 54 years of service to the city during their June 28 meeting.
“Chief Browning has been instrumental in every aspect of what the present-day Fire Department has become,” the staff report reads. “For this, the Rocklin Fire Department recommends acknowledging the City’s appreciation and commendation of Mr. Lee “Smokey” Browning for his dedication to the community of Rocklin by adoption of a City Council Resolution.”