Greenfield Fire Chief Bob Dudley has been chosen as this year’s Grand Marshal of the Greenfield Fire Prevention Festival. After declining the honor for many years, he finally agreed to serve as grand marshal.
“I’m very honored to serve as Grand Marshal this year,” Bob said. The annual event, which launched in 1988, has grown from a few hundred people to several thousand through the years. When it comes to fire safety messaging, Bob said he introduces school children to Smoky Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog. He said he has heard kindergarteners through the years talk about how they were taught fire safety at an early age. The outreach between the schools and fire prevention includes a poster contest on a state level, which is celebrated first at the local level within the schools. Many of the week-long activities are centered around children.
Bob said it costs about $14,000 to put together the annual festival. The bulk of that money comes in the form of donations and sponsorships. Letters are mailed out to potential sponsors at the end of every August and beginning of September. This Friday is the cutoff for potential donors of this year’s festival.
“I could not do this without the help of our city and community. A lot goes into the planning of this event and we can’t put it together without our sponsors,” Bob shared.
He has served as chairman of the Greenfield Fire Prevention Festival since the festival started 35 years ago.
Bob was born to the late Bill and Virginia Dudley. He has been with the Greenfield Fire Department for 47 years and has served as fire chief for 25 of those years. Bob took over the department after his dad, Bill Dudley, retired in 1998. Bill Dudley served as Chief for 60 years.
It also takes people from the community willing to help the Greenfield Fire Department maintain operations and serve the community of approximately 2,200 people. Currently, the City of Greenfield has an ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating of 3. The ISO rating calculates how well fire departments are equipped to put out fires. The lower the ISO rating is in a community allows for better insurance rates for property owners. Dudley said the city is really close to having an ISO rating of 2, which is commendable considering the department has an annual operating budget of about $145,000. The department will see some upgrades within the next year, thanks to the city’s budget commitment and numerous grants.
GFD hosts one community fundraiser each year – the annual spaghetti supper, held in conjunction with the Fire Prevention Festival. This is a time when the firefighters, their wives and significant others come together to cook and serve. Dudley commended his firefighters and their families for their commitment and dedication to the fire department.
“All of my firemen have really stepped up. The guys, their wives and significant others have given me many years of support,” Dudley added.
“I really can’t thank my city, community, firefighters and their families enough for making all of this possible,” he added.
Dudley has served as President of Weakley County Fire Chiefs Association for 25 years, past President of West Tennessee Chiefs, and President of the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association for two terms.
Bob also owns and operates Dudley Fire Consultants and has been a sales representative for Pierce Fire Apparatus for 30 years.
Additionally, Bob worked at the Martin Fire Department for 29 years, retiring as a Battalion Chief. He worked two years at Milan Fire Department as a Lieutenant. Bob has also served as President of the Greenfield Rotary Club.
Bob has served on the Weakley County 911 Board of Directors since 1994 when the district was created.
This year’s Fire Prevention Festival in Greenfield takes place Oct. 9-14 during National Fire Prevention Week. Read the accompanying article in this edition to see the complete schedule of events and make plans to attend. This year’s event includes bounce houses, live entertainment and concludes with a fireworks display.