“It’s the best job in the world,” Webb City fire fighter reflects on decades of service amid upcoming retirement

WEBB CITY, Mo. — His very first full time fire call was logged back in 1983 – and now Webb City fire fighter Jackie Clark is days away from his last.

“I started May 13, 1983. It was Friday the 13th.”

Which turned out to be a lucky day for Jackie Clark. The official beginning as a fire fighter – the career he’d focused on for years growing up in Oronogo.

“I remember riding my bicycle up to the fire station and the fire Chief Bill Musgrove would take me on grass fires.”

Jackie has seen big changes in his career.

“Laptops in the apparatus. Jasco 911. We didn’t have 911 back then.”

He says the job can be tough, with lives hanging in the balance.

“Worst part of my job is those that you try everything you can do, and you just can’t say no, actually COVID so it’s horrible failing, but you got to realize you can’t save them all.”

But that didn’t mean he didn’t try. And in most cases, Jackie says, he knew he was making a difference.

“I’ve saved properties. I’ve delivered babies. And I can actually say I saved someone’s life and … Don’t get better.”

And it all happened at the Webb City Fire Department.

“I believe in being loyal. And yes, I could have went someplace else. It would not have been better.”

Jackie knows it’s time to retire. But he says he’ll miss all those things that make fighting fires a calling and a career.

“I got a big giant fire truck to play with. I get to squirt water and get as dirty as I want. And I get paid for it too. It’s the best job in the world.”

Clark will officially retire on May 14 – making him the third longest serving fire fighter in the history of the Webb City Fire Department.

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