After 34 years and no sick leave, James “JJ” Jackson wrapped up his last shift at Fire Station 203 yesterday (Tuesday).
Short of a little time in Del Ray and Old Town, Jackson said he’s spent every year of his career at the firehouse in Alexandria’s Beverly Hills neighborhood.
“I’m excited,” Jackson said. “I’m ready. I’m definitely going to miss my colleagues.”
34 years of service. All 34 being spent in the Beverly Hills Firehouse on Cameron Mills Road. ZERO hours of sick leave used. JJ enjoy your retirement, congratulations and thank you. @AlexandriaVAFD @SmedleyCorey https://t.co/7uG159IiY3
— IAFF Local 2141 (@IAFFLocal2141) November 26, 2019
Jackson said he quickly fell in love with the station and its coverage area. (The station is now in the process of being demolished and replaced with a new firehouse.)
“I like it up here,” Jackson said. “It’s a neighborhood feel, a little less city. That’s what I liked about it. The neighbors always take care of us and bring us stuff at Christmas.”
Jackson started on Oct. 1, 1984, and said he’s never taken a day of sick leave, but wasn’t sure if that was a record in the department.
Acting Fire Chief @SmedleyCorey wishes Firefighter JJ Jackson well after 34 years of service with AFD. Thanks for your service and your dedication to this profession. Enjoy retirement! pic.twitter.com/GSQsjrdlcX
— Alexandria Fire-EMS (@AlexandriaVAFD) November 26, 2019
Over those years, Jackson said the biggest changes were the incorporation of computers into firefighting and other new technologies.
“There’s a lot more EMS involvement too,” Jackson said. “The firefighting job is basically the same though.”
Jackson said his main plans once he retires are to travel and spoil his grandchildren.
Photo via Alexandria Fire-EMS/Twitter