SUNSET -- After nearly 25 years -- two different stints with the Sunset City Volunteer Fire Department -- Chief Neil Coker retired Saturday.
Coker, 64, initially began with the city in 1976. He then left the department in 1988.
Coker returned May 1, 2001, as the assistant fire chief before assuming the role of chief on Sept. 19, 2001, replacing retiring chief Arley Wallace, officials said.
Coker said his immediate plans include a trip to Yellowstone National Park with his family, and then he'll take it slow and easy, spending time with his 12 grandchildren.
"They're special," Coker said.
But it is with heavy heart that he leaves the department.
"I got to know a lot of people. It is enjoyable when you get to help people out," Coker said. "When you have a town of 5,000 people, it's not hard to get to know a lot of people.
"I'm going to miss the people the most."
In addition to missing those residents he worked for, Coker said, he is also going to miss the firefighters he worked with.
"We have a good bunch of dedicated people, or they wouldn't be volunteers," he said.
Coker served as the fire chief for the 36-member volunteer fire department for nearly 12 years, Sunset Mayor Chad Bangerter said.
"(Coker) is going to be a hard person to replace," he said. "You have got to be a pretty special person to be a fireman."
Bangerter said he did all he could to try to convince Coker to stay on with the city until the end of the calendar year, the same time Bangerter's four-year term as mayor expires.
The city has named firefighter Breen Lowman as interim Sunset fire chief until city leaders can appoint a permanent replacement.
A small open house was held in Coker's honor Friday at City Hall.