CINCINNATI — Together they served a combined total of 112 years in the fire service.
On Dec. 31 the long, storied careers of Richard “Rosie” Rose, 83, and Matt Rose, 58, end as they both retire.
The elder Rose, a 70-year fire service veteran, said his father, Louis Rose, served over 20 years with the Madeira Fire Department starting around 1940. By the age of 14, Rose said he was a junior fireman tagging along with his dad to the fire station.
“The grown-ups had their kids around the fire department,” he recalled. “We would load hose and wash equipment, all that good stuff.”
His fire service briefly stopped when he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1954. When he returned four years later, he signed on with the Loveland Fire Department.
The proverbial apple didn’t fall far from the tree with Matt Rose’s own fire service career beginning much like his father’s. The whole family is service-oriented, military and fire, he said.
“It’s just like old school; your family stays together. It’s part of your life,” he said of fire service. “You get used to Christmas and holidays in the firehouse. “We’re a big family when it comes down to it. It takes a special person.”
Matt Rose, a 42-year fire service veteran, recalled his very first run. It was 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5, 1974, his birthday. He was with the Goshen Fire Department serving with his dad. From Goshen, the father and son moved to Loveland Symmes Fire Department.
They are finishing their careers with the Stonelick Township Fire Department where Matt Rose was named the township’s first full-time fire chief in 2009. Richard Rose retires from Stonelick Township as the assistant fire chief and a Stonelick volunteer.
They’ve seen a lot over the years. Richard Rose was with Loveland during the big fire in 1972 that gutted the historic city hall/fire station, built in 1888.
“I was upstairs in the second story when the firehouse went down in Loveland,” he said. “Luckily I wasn’t banged up. I slid with the floor. I was shook up and stiff. I was lucky.”
“I’ve been involved with so much, I could write the book,” Matt Rose said. From structure fires to car accidents, he said he remembers them all.
One of the toughest runs he recalls involved the drowning death of the twin toddlers of retired Loveland-Symmes Fire Chief James Hunter.
“That still bothers me,” he said.
Retirement comes for the men as Matt Rose faces health challenges — cancer. He’s beat it once, he said, and he’s optimistic he can do it again.
“It’s gotten to the point before I hurt somebody or put myself in a predicament, it’s time to pass the torch on,” Rose said.
Firefighting remains his passion, however.
“I’m like little kids in a candy store that can’t get enough,” he said. “I’m always the first one in and 98 percent of the time I’m the last one out of the house.”
Ahead of their retirement, family and friends surprised the men with a celebration of their careers at the Clermont County Fairgrounds in Owensville. A representative from Congressman Rob Portman’s office presented the men with a flag that had flown over the nation’s Capitol.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com