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Posted on: March 9, 2023

Council honors Fire Chief Ken Hair, Director Kenny Story, and Police Lt. Chris Mills

Council Ken Hair, Kenny Story, and Chris Mills retirement at City Council meeting, Feb. 21, 2023

The City of Lenoir City Council honored retiring Fire Chief Ken Hair, retiring Parks & Recreation Director Kenny Story, and retiring Police Lieutenant Chris Mills during a City Council meeting last month.

Mayor Joe Gibbons read and presented Lt. Mills' retirement resolution first during the regular Council meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. After reading the resolution, Mayor Gibbons gave Lt. Mills a Key to the City of Lenoir.

Lt. Mills started serving in the Lenoir Police Department in 1998 after being appointed by then Chief Jack Warlick. During his career, he served as Patrol Sergeant, Support Services Training Coordinator, Lieutenant in Patrol overseeing two platoons, and he has led the department’s Community Resources Platoon. Lt. Mills was voted Officer of the year by department members in 2015, and he completed the FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Trilogy Program in 2019. Lt. Mills officially retired March 1, 2023, with more than 26 years of creditable service. Read the full retirement resolution below.

"Thank you for all your service to our City," Mayor Gibbons said. "Thank you for protecting us for so many years and being such a great role model for our community. We're very proud to have served with you and certainly appreciate everything you have done."

When Lt. Mills joined the Police department, Chief Brent Phelps was his field training officer.

"So I tell him I taught him everything he knows," Chief Phelps said. "The truth of the matter is, I've probably learned more from him. He's been a great employee. He has a heart for training, and he's done a great job."

Lt. Mills gave thanks to everyone who supported him during his career.

"First of all, I'd like to thank God for getting me through this career I'm in, and second of all, I'd like to thank my wife Crystal, who stood beside me all the way," Lt. Mills said. "I'd like to thank all the men and women I've worked with, all the officers I've trained through the years, and I'd like to thank City Council. Thank you very much."

Mayor Gibbons then read the retirement resolution for Chief Hair and presented a Key to the City to the outgoing Fire Chief.

Chief Hair started his career as a Firefighter with the Lenoir Fire Department in 1991. During the past 32 years, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, and then Fire Chief  in 2018. Chief Hair officially retired Feb. 1, 2023, ending 31-plus years of exemplary service to the citizens of Lenoir and Caldwell County. The full retirement resolution is below.

"Chief Hair, we will miss you very much," Mayor Gibbons said. "You've been a great leader in our community. We have enjoyed working with you. We think the world of you, and we wish you nothing but the best. We're so honored to have you serve us for so many year."

Chief Hair thanked the Council and City Manager, past and present, for supporting the Fire Department.

"What a privilege it has been to me and my family to work for the City of Lenoir for 31 years, and what a true honor to serve as the Fire Chief for the last five," Chief Hair said. "I just want to thank the Council and City Managers, now and previous, that have given us the staff and equipment we need. I want to thank my wife and family for allowing me to live my dream as a little boy to be a firefighter. I got to do that, and I'm proud to say I served in about every rank in the Fire Department, except one. Any accolades that have been given to me are due to the men and women who served in the Fire Department now and in the past. We learn everything from them, and we would not be where we're at if it was not for the men and women that came before us. This is a great city to work for, one of the best that I know of. Thank you for everything."

Mayor Gibbons closed with reading the retirement resolution for outgoing Parks & Recreation Director Kenny Story. Mayor Gibbons also gave Director Story a Key to the City of Lenoir.

Director Story started his career with the City of Lenoir in 1987 and served in various positions in the Parks and Recreation Department through 1996 including Summer Playground Coordinator, Ball Field Maintenance, Aquatics Director, Assistant Center Director, Center Director, and Athletic Director. He returned to the City in 2007 as Athletic Programs Supervisor and was promoted to Assistant Recreation Director/ Athletic Director, Interim Director, and then Director in 2017. He managed many improvements and additions to the Parks and Recreation Department during his tenure. Director Story officially retired March 1, 2023, ending more than 24 years of exemplary service to the citizens of Lenoir and more than 35 years of service in Parks and Recreation in the state. The full retirement resolution is below.

"Kenny has been our Recreation Director for the last five years, but has been around recreation all his life," Mayor Gibbons said. "He grew up here, played Little League ball, senior league ball, Lenoir High ball, and everything you can think of. He has led this program in so many great ways. Kenny, you will be missed."

Director story said he had been blessed to have such an enjoyable career in a great city like Lenoir.

"Thank you Mayor, Council. All I can say is it's been a blessed 37 years in recreation," Director Story said. "The City of Lenoir has been good to me. I'm going to miss you guys, miss you Council, Manager. Thank you for all you have done. This is the greatest city in North Carolina. We have the best employees. I grew up in Lenoir, and there is no place like Lenoir. Thank you for a blessed time in my life."

Council Ken Hair, Kenny Story, and Chris Mills retirement at City Council meeting, Feb. 21, 2023

Pictured from left: City Manager Scott Hildebran, Mayor Pro Tem Crissy Thomas, Councilman Ralph Prestwood, Mayor Joe Gibbons, former Fire Chief Ken Hair, Councilman Kent Greer, former Parks & Recreation Director Kenny Story, Councilman Ike Perkins, form Police Lt. Chris Mills, and Councilmen Jonathan Beal and David Stevens.

RESOLUTION In Recognition of Dedicated Service of Lt. Chris Mills

WHEREAS, on the 15th of January, in the year 1998, Christopher Todd Mills was appointed as a Patrol Officer for the City of Lenoir Police Department by Chief Jack Warlick;

THAT, as of the date of this Resolution, Lieutenant Mills has admirably and with great distinction, served the citizens of Lenoir during the tenures of four Police Chiefs;

THAT, Chris has formed close relationships with his genuine concern and dedication to duty; and has contributed to the success of the department and community, with the support of his wife, Crystal.

THAT, prior to being hired by the City of Lenoir, Chris served as a Detention Officer with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Officer for the Foothills Correctional Department in Morganton during the years 1997 to 1998;

THAT, due to his diligent performance of exemplary manner, he was promoted to Patrol Sergeant in 2003, to Support Services Training Coordinator in 2008, to Lieutenant in 2009, to Patrol overseeing two Platoons in 2012; and since 2018, has lead the department’s Community Resources Platoon;

THAT, he received his Instructor Certification in 2001, completed Police Law Institute in 2003, received the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate in 2007, completed FBI Regional Command College in 2009, was voted Officer of the year by department members in 2015, and completed the FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Trilogy Program in 2019;

THAT, Chris has been instrumental in overseeing a number of programs and serving in a multitude of capacities to include Department Instructor, Special Response Team Member, Citizens Police and K9 Academy Coordinator, K-9 Team Supervisor, Recruitment and Retention, Ready Response Team, and Crisis Incident Stress Management Team;

THAT, society and law enforcement has undergone many changes and challenges over the last 25 years, and Chris has stayed abreast through those changing trends to remain an effective leader, role model and mentor within the department and community at large;

THAT, he has played an active, vital role in the community with a number of accolades in his personnel file showing his willingness to go above and beyond what is expected for the department, city, and community;

THAT, Chris has humbly served the citizens of the City of Lenoir and Caldwell County and will be retiring on March 1, 2023 with over 26 years of creditable service in the North Carolina Local Government Retirement System.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by authority of the Mayor and City Manager, and on behalf of the City Council, that Lieutenant Chris Mills has been an exemplary employee and is himself the epitome of the professional Law Enforcement Officer. His contributions to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Lenoir and officers of the Lenoir Police Department will be held in high esteem and in remembrance by this governing body, as well as all persons impacted by his accomplishments, generosity, and compassion for those in need;

THIS, the 21st day of February, 2023.

Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor & Scott E. Hildebran, City Manager

RESOLUTION HONORING KENNETH WILLIAM HAIR

WHEREAS, Kenneth (Ken) William Hair began his career as a Firefighter with the Lenoir Fire Department on October 8, 1991, and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on October 4, 2001, Lieutenant on October 3, 2002, Captain on March 14, 2005, Assistant Chief on February 11, 2008, Deputy Chief on April 3, 2011 and Fire Chief on March 1, 2018; and

WHEREAS, Ken Hair has announced his retirement effective February 1, 2023 ending 31-plus years of exemplary service to the citizens of Lenoir and Caldwell County; and

WHEREAS, during his tenure of dedicated service, Ken Hair has served with great competence and always contributed positively to the professional development of those around him; and

WHEREAS, during all of his endeavors both in and outside the Fire Department Ken Hair has brought honor and respect to himself and the City of Lenoir by his actions and his fair treatment of all persons;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor, and on behalf of the Lenoir City Council and all the citizens, do hereby wish the very best for Ken in his retirement and commend him for the example he has set as a dedicated public servant; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we extend our sincere appreciation and deep gratitude for his faithful and outstanding service which has contributed to the betterment of our City. Witness my hand and seal this the 21st day of February, 2023.

Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor & Scott E. Hildebran, City Manager

Resolution Honoring Kenneth E. Story

WHEREAS, Kenneth E. "Kenny" Story started his career with the City of Lenoir, North Carolina, on June 29, 1987, and served in various positions in the Parks and Recreation Department through April I 0, 1996, including Summer Playground Coordinator, Ball Field Maintenance, Aquatics Director, Assistant Center Director, Center Director, and Athletic Director: and

WHEREAS, Kenny Story returned to work for the City's Parks & Recreation Department on October 15, 2007, as Athletic Programs Supervisor and was promoted to Assistant Recreation Director/ Athletic Director in 2011, Interim Director in 2016, and Director in 2017; and

WHEREAS, Kenny Story has been very active in the community including volunteering with the Special Olympics, coaching for several recreation leagues, working as a Tar Heel League Coach; and

WHEREAS, during his tenure as Parks & Recreation Director, Kenny Story has overseen the completion of many improvements to Lenoir Parks and Recreation facilities including improvements to the Lenoir Optimist Park, Greenway extensions, improvements to The Campus at the Historic Lenoir High School, new outdoor pickleball courts at Mulberry Recreation Center, the Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance at J.E. Broyhill Park, new energy efficient LED lighting at Mulberry Recreation Center and Mack Cook Stadium, renovations at T.H. Broyhill Walking Park including three, new single-unit restrooms and decking boards on the observation deck, and securing grant funding for improvements to the Lenoir Aquatic & Fitness Center including a new splash pad; and

WHEREAS, during his career, Kenny Story has worked with many community partners to improve recreation opportunities and facilities for residents in Lenoir including Appalachian State University, the Broyhill Family Foundation, Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, Foothills Performing Arts, and North Carolina State Agricultural Extension; and

WHEREAS, Kenny Story has announced his retirement effective March 1, 2023, ending more than 24 years of exemplary service to the citizens of Lenoir and more than 35 years of service in Parks and Recreation in the state;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor, and on behalf of the City of Lenoir Council and all the citizens, do hereby wish the very best for Kenny in his retirement and commend him for the example he has set as a dedicated public servant; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we extend our sincere appreciation and deep gratitude for his faithful and outstanding service, which has contributed to the betterment of our City.

This, the 21st day of February 2023.

Joseph L. Gibbons, Mayor

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