Darrell Johnston retired from two previous jobs before starting his new job Tuesday as assistant fire chief with the Brownwood Fire Department.

“Old fire horses just gotta run,” Johnston said, explaining why he can’t stay retired. “I enjoy it. It’s a calling.”

Fire Chief Eddy Wood introduced Johnston at the Brownwood City Council meeting Tuesday morning, saying

Johnston had been on the job at that point for about an hour. Johnston had retired from the Odessa Fire Department, Wood told council members, and he replaces Grady Shuey, who retired as assistant chief several months ago.

Johnston, an Odessa native, first worked for 2 ½ years as a volunteer firefighter before joining the Odessa Fire Department in 1981. Johnston retired from the Odessa department in 2012 as battalion chief in the training division.

Johnston and his wife, Karen, have lived in Brownwood since 2014. Johnston said he’s owned property here for about 12 years.

In 2014, Johnston went to work as a wildland firefighter at Camp Bowie for the Texas A&M Forest Service, and retired from that job in 2018.

Whether it’s a larger department such as Odessa or a smaller one such as Brownwood, “overall it’s pretty much the same wherever you’re at,” Johnston said.

Johnston and his wife are the parents of four daughters and a handful of grandkids,” Johnston said.