By Dedra Cordle
After nearly nine years as chief of the Pleasant Township Fire Department, Jay Noojin has decided to call it a career.
“I think it’s just time for me to retire,” he said after the Nov. 10 board of trustees meeting where he made his announcement. His last day will be on Dec. 31, 2015.
Noojin said he has known he wanted to be a firefighter since he was a child growing up on the south side of Columbus.
According to Noojin, one of his favorite past-times was watching the fire engines as they drove around the neighborhood with his friends, and then racing after them on their bicycles.
“I knew when I was 10, firefighting is what I wanted to do,” he said.
Noojin began his career in 1971, serving as a military firefighter for the Air Force at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. He served in that capacity until 1975 when he became a civilian firefighter at the same base.
In 1985, after earning a fire service management degree from Troy State University, now Troy University, he took a firefighting position at the Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus.
While at Rickenbacker, Noojin was promoted to lieutenant, captain and then assistant chief.
In 2007, he was asked if he had any interest in becoming the new fire chief at the Pleasant Township Fire Department in Grove City. He said he applied not really believing he would get the job.
Throughout his term as chief of the fire department, Noojin said he has most enjoyed working with his fellow firefighters and helping the community.
“That’s really what I’m going to miss the most about the job.”
Noojin said he began seriously thinking about retirement last year and had October of 2016 circled as the month when he believed he would leave the department. Those plans changed recently, he said, after giving it more thought.
“It’s time to go,” he said.
The board of trustees accepted his retirement, effective Jan. 1, 2016, and wished him well.
“We’re going to miss him,” said board president Nancy Hunter.
Noojin said he has no firm plans on what he will do during his retirement.
“Maybe work on my ‘Honey-Do’ list,” he said with a laugh. “My wife has a lot of things for me to work on.”
The trustees said they do not have a list of candidates to replace Noojin at this time. They added that they will begin the process to find a successor to Noojin soon.