The Brownwood Fire Department welcomed Eddy Wood as its new fire chief in a crowded swearing-in ceremony and reception Monday morning at the Central Fire Station.
    City officials, family and dozens of firefighters and other first responders — including several from North Richland Hills, where Wood previously worked as a battalion commander — watched as Mayor Stephen Haynes administered the oath of office.
    Haynes called Wood’s wife, Debby, to come forward to pin the badge on dark blue jacket of her husband’s dress uniform. Debby Wood said she’d had the honor of pinning her husband’s badges throughout his promotions, and she asked her mother-in-law, Linda, to join her and pin the new chief’s badge.
    “Thank you, Debby,” a surprised and appreciative Linda Wood said before pinning the badge on her son’s jacket.
    Justin Prince, vice president of the Brownwood Professional Fire Fighters Association, presented Wood with his fire chief’s helmet.
    Haynes said he’s sure Wood recognizes the significance of the city turning over the fire department to his care, and Haynes charged Wood to “preserve, protect and defend” the city.
    “You inherit, in a way, the city of Brownwood,” Haynes told the new chief. “We know that you’re new to Brownwood but we hope this is a place you can call home for a long time.”
    Wood said he’s met with all three of the fire department’s shifts and is eager to get to work.
    “This is a great privilege,” Wood said. “This is an honor. I feel very fortunate to have to honor to come in and take care of this city with a team.”
    “Everybody’s reached out with open arms to our family. We’re looking forward to getting to work.”
    Wood, 42, will also serve as the city’s emergency management coordinator.
    Wood started out as a dispatcher and volunteer firefighter in Azle 25 years ago and became a firefighter in North Richland Hills, where he promoted through the ranks to become a battalion chief.
    Brownwood City Council members unanimously approved City Manager Emily Crawford’s recommendation of Wood in February as Brownwood’s new fire chief and emergency management coordinator.
    Wood replaced Del Albright, who retired as chief of the Brownwood Fire Department in November.
    Wood was the unanimous choice of the Fire Chief Advisory Board for the Brownwood job.