MT. VERNON — —
Capt. John Griffin said Hayes departure will mean a change.
"Whoever takes Donny's place will have big shoes to fill," Griffin said. "He has developed a great public education program. It's not just the people in Mt. Vernon, but he travels to other communities as well."
Hayes said working with the police department as a telecommunicator will allow him to continue to help the community he has come to love. This is not the first time Hayes has dispatched emergency response — in his early days on the fire department, the fire department dispatched their own emergency calls.
"I know how the fire department operates and responds to calls," Hayes said. "I hope to be able to use that knowledge to do my next job well."
Sargent said Hayes will be missed and be an asset to the telecommunications of the city.
"When Donny Hayes says he's going to do something, he does it and he does it better than you could ever imagine," Sargent said. "I'm happy that in his retirement, he's chosen to continue helping people and his department by being a telecommunicator because I know when I lay my head down at night he's watching out for our firefighters and he's watching out for our community. It takes a heck of a firefighter and a man to recognize when your career as a firefighter is done and you can pick up another job and continue helping people. I don't have enough words to express the gratitude I have for Donny Hayes and his commitment to this department."
Sargent, who worked alongside Hayes in public education at MVFD prior to becoming assistant chief, said Hayes taught him a lot.
"He's taught me how to destroy a stapler — he'll laugh about that," Sargent said. "But seriously, he's taught me a lot about patience; he's taught me that no matter what you do, put your heart and soul into it."