Citizens' Hose Company saw a change in leadership when the calendars flipped from 2013 to 2014 with the stepping down of President Chris Hudson. After three years at the helm of the Smyrna Fire Department, Hudson decided to take a step back to spend more time with family.
"I want to be a dad and I don't want to have to donate as much time up there as I have," Hudson said.
Hudson, 31, is married with a son and said ever since he met his wife, Jessica, he's been heavily involved with the fire department. He'll still be involved, just not the same non-stop involvement. Hudson remains on the Board of Directors.
Hudson has been involved with Citizens' Hose Company for most of his life. He joined the band in 1996 and became a firefighter in 1998.
In his capacity as president, Hudson said he oversaw everything on the administrative side from department finances to the building itself.
"Basically when the whistle blows, the chief is in charge but everything else the president is in charge of," he said.
A big chunk of Hudson's time over the past few years has been spent attending state and county meetings, as well as representing the fire company at social activities and events.
Taking over for Hudson is recently elected President Jack Caldwell, who served as vice president under Hudson.
"I think he'll do well. He's obviously well liked because he won the election," Hudson said. "He always attended meetings with me and when I couldn't, he'd attend on my behalf. He's a solid guy."
Hudson said he originally joined the fire department to help others, plus it runs in his bloodline. Several of his family members have been members of the Smyrna and Clayton fire departments.
"It's something I grew up with and something I love to do. I like to give back. I don't think enough people give back to their community," Hudson said.
Being a firefighter is something Hudson certainly enjoys doing.
"When you're called and the fire whistle blows, you see a lot of things people don't get to see whether it is good or bad; you're helping somebody," Hudson said. "The best day of your life may be the worst day of their life."
Hudson has enjoyed being the president of the Citizens' Hose Company. The highlight of his time thus far with the department has been the number of times Smyrna has won the Governor's Cup. They've only lost once; they didn't participate in 2001.
The department's open house in 2012 has been a high point of his tenure, Hudson said. The open house was the first one in 26 years; they had planned to hold one in 2011 during the department's 125th anniversary but it was cancelled due to bad weather.
Page 2 of 2 - "It's something we need to start getting back in the habit of doing," Hudson said. "[They] make the community more aware of what we are, what we do and who we are. There are so many new people coming into our town, they don't realize we're 100 percent volunteers. We are their neighbors, we are the people living next door to them, the people who go to church with them, our kids go to the same school. They just don't realize we're volunteers."