TOP PHOTO: WLAF’s Charlie Hutson catches the look of a surprised Eddie Hatmaker as he walked into his surprise retirement celebration on Tuesday morning.

Now a captain, Dusty Davis (right), presents a going-away gift to his mentor Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker. “My first three years here were with you. This is to honor you, Eddie Hatmaker. I’m gonna miss you,” said Davis. During the presentation, one firefighter shouted out “Bertha (Hatmaker’s wife), find some place to put this.”

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – It was the best kept secret in town; Eddie Hatmaker’s retirement party. The Assistant Fire Chief for the La Follette Fire Department was celebrated and surprised.

Mayor Phillip Farmer: He’s a good assistant fire chief. He does his job and does it right.

In the end, perhaps it was only fitting that Hatmaker was denied a purchase order. This keepsake is for $99,999,999.00.

City Administrator Stan Foust: You need one last PO (purchase order) before you go. Foust ribbed Hatmaker because of all the POs he presented over the years.

Eddie Hatmaker wore number 150 for 33 years.

Fire Chief Jimmy Pack: There’s no way to replace Eddie Hatmaker. He’s done an outstanding job. We’ve worked together since I came to the department in 1991. I was shocked he’s retiring, though I knew it was coming, but I hoped he wouldn’t. We worked together at all three fire stations and each became a captain about the same time. He was B shift captain, and I was Captain of the A shift.

“Fire Chief Jimmy Pack presents Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker with a symbol of appreciation. “You’ve been a great firefighter and a great friend,” said Pack.

Fire Captain Dusty Davis: I spent my first three years here with you. I can’t thank you enough.

Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Hatmaker: The running joke was that I was always wanting to know about a budget item. They began to know I was coming down the hall by my footsteps. Terry Sweat, retired director of finance, called me Pedley PO.

Fellow firefighter Daniel Lawson pats Hatmaker on the shoulder as he expresses his appreciation.

In classic Eddie Hatmaker fashion, he simply stepped up at the end and said, “Thank you all for coming. I appreciate it.” From all of us here at WLAF, we appreciate you, Eddie, and thank you for your service and wish you the best in your retirement. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/20/2022-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S CHARLIE HUTSON)

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