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Police and fire

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Firefighter hangs up his boots after 45 years on the job

Saturday afternoon, the Fort Wayne Fire Department gave a send-off to a one-of-kind guy.

Officially in his first day of retirement, Capt. Ron ÖHamm greeted more than 80 fellow firefighters and their families as he hung up his boots after a lifelong career in the city’s fire service.

In a low-key ceremony, Fire Chief Amy Biggs handed Hamm his official “retired” ID card and his 45-year pin.

“I don’t know,” she said, “if we’ll ever see another 45-year guy around here again.”

In his career that began Dec. 27, 1968, Hamm filled every role in the department except battalion chief and fire chief, Biggs said.

He served as a combat firefighter and station head. He managed the apparatus shop. He worked in the fire prevention bureau and was the face of the department to the media for a time.

For several years, he trained recruits at the fire academy.

“He’s trained just about everyone in the department now. Including me,” Biggs said.

And, Hamm was on the scene at many of the city’s biggest fires and disasters.

For more on this story, read Sunday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit this website after 3 a.m. Sunday.