Roanoke City Fire Chief David Hoback with daughter Samantha at the ribbon-cutting.
Although he has been fire chief for only three years, my dad has been working his whole life to serve and protect his hometown. Starting as a volunteer, he has worked his way up the ranks, proving that he has truly found his calling in life. My mom even fell for him while he was on the job – literally. She fell down the stairs in her apartment; he was the paramedic.
For my sister and me, having a fireman for a father had its perks. First, we never worried that our house would burn down. Second, people could always find our house by looking for his red-and-white fire-department car. At Christmastime, my dad was behind the wheel of the fire truck carrying Santa and candy through the neighborhoods. And when he was promoted to battalion chief, we loved telling our friends that our dad was 007 (the number of his city car).
So how can I be anything but proud as I watch my dad cut the ribbon to commemorate the opening of the new Fire Station No. 5? Surrounded by members of city council, the Roanoke City mayor, community leaders, the city manager and the Virginia secretary of public safety, my dad – the fire chief of Roanoke City – smiles with relief, finally able to breathe and enjoy the results of his hard work and dedication to the Star City.
Unfortunately, neither of my dad’s parents lived long enough to see his many accomplishments. My grandfather passed away from lung cancer in 1994; my grandmother lost her fight to lung disease in 1999. And just months after becoming fire chief in 2007, my dad lost his only sister unexpectedly. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; for no one is this more true than my father.
Watching my dad sitting for a news interview after the opening ceremony at Station 5, all I see is a passionate and devoted fire chief talking excitedly about the new station and the progress the department has made in recent years. Standing by with a Diet Mountain Dew and a slice of his favorite cake (white cake with white icing courtesy of Gail Wilson), I am proud to be the daughter of the fire chief of Roanoke City.