Captain Dan Lyday will bid farewell to his firefighting family this week after more than 28 years as a member of Durant Fire Department.
Lyday joined the department on Christmas Eve of 1983. His last day will be Thursday, but his families – firefighters and personal – joined him for a retirement reception last Friday.
Mayor Jerry Tomlinson and City Manager James Dunegan were among city leaders who joined Fire Chief Roger Joines in bidding farewell to Lyday. Also in attendance were Lyday’s wife Charlotte, children and grandchildren, as well as his mother Verlena Walker.
Dan is the second of her two sons to retire from Durant Fire Department, following Dale Lyday in 2001. “I feel like I contributed something, having both of them in the fire department,” she said.
“I’m very proud of my boys. I’m proud of all the fire department, they are all special to me.”
Both families presented Lyday a handmade belt and buckle at the reception. A book of photos and articles from past incidents was passed around, showing some of Lyday’s work as a firefighter.
“It’s been great working with all these guys,” he said. “People don’t realize it, but they become your family.”
Chief Joines said Lyday was an asset to the department. “I always looked up to Dan, because he was always doing the jobs I would be doing next. He works hard.”
Lyday wiped away tears as the reception began, offering 10 powerful words to his firehouse bunkmates: “I’ve enjoyed it guys, and I’m going to miss you.”