BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — After leading Bay County Emergency Services for more than two decades, Chief Mark Bowen is retiring.
County commissioners said Bowen “led the county into the future” throughout his 21 years of service.
He was hired as the assistant chief in 1999 before he was promoted to chief in 2006.
Bowen oversees 65 firefighters, 30 volunteer firefighters, 70 emts/paramedics, 30 call takers and 15 administrators.
At Tuesday morning’s commission meeting, various speakers honored Chief Bowen for his leadership during some of the toughest times our area has ever seen – including the B.P. Oil Spill and Hurricane Michael.
Incoming Chief Bradley Monroe awarded Chief Bowen with the medal of honor, medal of valor and medal of merit.
County Commissioner Bill Dozier has built a strong friendship with Chief Bowen throughout the years and said he possesses all the qualities a leader should have.
“Somebody that is going to be calm, someone that is going to be collected and lead the rest of us through whatever we are going through and that is certainly Chief Bowen,” Dozier said. “That is what he was known for being calm and collected during those times of need.”
Chief Bowen was responsible for the implementation of many programs and policies. Some of which include the conversion from volunteer to professional firefighters in Bay County and enhancing Bay County Fire Rescue by certifying more firefighters as EMTs and paramedics.
There was an overwhelming applause from the crowd as Chief Bowen was recognized – everyone says he will be missed.