Hilton Head fire chief retiring in June

rlurye@islandpacket.comMay 20, 2014 

Lavarn Lucas, left, chief of the Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division, receives a congratulatory handshake from Mayor Drew Laughlin during a retirement reception for Lucas on May 20, 2014, in the council chambers at Town Hall. Lucas started as a volunteer firefighter in 1979. He became a paid firefighter with the Hilton Head Island Fire District in 1981, rising to chief in 2007.

JAY KARR — Jay Karr Buy Photo

Chief Lavarn Lucas is retiring next month after a 32-year tenure with the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division and a another veteran of the department will take over.

Brad Tadlock, deputy chief of operations, will take the reins June 21 after more than 20 years with the division, town manager Steve Riley said. With a month of work remaining before his departure, Lucas said he hasn't had time to reflect on his years at the helm, but he will be comfortable leaving Tadlock in charge.

"I know I'll be proud of the organization I've left behind," Lucas said. "I have every confidence in the world they won't do anything in the future but get better."

Town employees celebrated his career Tuesday with a reception at Town Hall. Lucas said that in nearly seven years as chief, he has cut costs, reduced the rate of unstaffed engines and improved response times.

The organization was also re-accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, and in 2010, the division was one of three recipients of the Heart Safe Community Award from the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Eventually, Lucas plans to return to his hometown of Ridgeland, but he said he's in no rush to leave the island where he spent childhood beach vacations and the entirety of his career.

"It's as much home to me as any place can be," Lucas said. "And serving your local community, to me, is so much more rewarding than serving any other community."

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Related content:

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service