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Two Hickory Fire Department Firefighters Retire

HICKORY, NC (December 3, 2018) — A ceremony was recently held for two retirees.

Gerald Bentley

After 30 years in the fire service, Captain Gerald Bentley has retired from the Hickory Fire Department.  He was hired on December 11, 1989, as a firefighter and moved through the ranks.  In 1998 he was promoted to Captain.  Captain Bentley obtained certifications and courses to further his career including: Associates degree in Fire Science Technology from Central Piedmont Community College in 1995, NC Level II Firefighter, NC State HAZMAT Operations level, NC Level II Qualified Fire Service Instructor, NC Fire Prevention Inspector Level I, NC EMT Basic, NC EVD, NC RIT, Leadership I-III, NIMS through FEMA, and National Fire Academy Fire/Arson Investigation Course.

Since 1987, Bentley has also served as a volunteer with Kings Creek Volunteer Fire Department, where he is still a member.  In 1997, Bentley began working as a part time Fire Apparatus Operator with Kings Creek Fire Department.

Bentley said “I want to thank God for allowing me to have a career in the fire service with the City of Hickory Fire Department.  Also, to my dad, (Gerald E. Bentley, Sr.) who passed away in February 2018, for planting a seed back in 1985 for me to explore the opportunity of making the fire service my career.”

Gerald resides in Caldwell County with wife, Anne, and family.  Plans after retirement are to continue employment at Kings Creek Fire Department. He is looking forward to traveling with family, fly fishing, and going on mission trips with his church.

Craig Gwaltney

After 30 dedicated years to the fire service, Captain Craig Gwaltney has retired from the Hickory Fire Department.  His employment as a firefighter with the city began on December 11, 1989.  During his career at Hickory, he was promoted to Firefighter II, Senior Firefighter, Fire Apparatus Operator, and to Captain in 2000, a position which he held until his retirement.

In 2009, Captain Gwaltney graduated from Catawba Valley Community College with an Associates in Applied Science of Fire Protection Technology. During his career, Gwaltney completed certifications and courses to further his career as a firefighter, including: Hazardous Materials Operations level I, Emergency Vehicle Driver, Level II Fire Service Instructor, Specialty in Incident Command Systems, Hazardous Materials Awareness & Operations, Technical Rescuer, Rapid Intervention Team, Fire & Life Safety Educator level I, Fire Officer I & II, Basic Life Support (CPR) Instructor, EMT, and Level I Fire Inspector.

Prior to his employment with the Hickory Fire Department, Gwaltney served as a volunteer firefighter with Wittenburg Volunteer Fire Department.  In 1984, he began as a volunteer firefighter and through the years served as Lieutenant, Captain/Training Officer, Chief in 2000 to 2003, and Assistant Chief in 2003 to 2008, and also served on the Board of Directors.

He resides in Wittenburg with his wife Deborah.  They have two daughters and three grandchildren.  Captain Gwaltney is looking forward to enjoying his retirement alongside his family and hopes to hunt, fish, and golf.