Brownwood fire service officers Preston, Hull end storied careers

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Retiring Brownwood fire service veterans Buddy Preston (left), assistant chief for fire prevention/investigations, and Lt. Ted Hull stand with the engraved fire axes they received at a retirement party Tuesday in the Central Fire Station.

Members of the Brownwood Fire Department and other city employees gave a fond sendoff Tuesday to two of their colleagues — and Nika the arson dog — who retired after distinguished careers in the fire service.

Buddy Preston, who held the title of assistant fire marshal for prevention/investigations (formerly known as fire marshal)  and Lt. Ted Hull received engraved fire axes and other gifts as they stood with other fire department members in the Central Fire Station engine bay.

Nika, a black lab who was Preston’s canine partner for the past 10 years, sat on her haunches near Preston as Fire Chief Eric Hicks and City Manager Emily Crawford offered brief tributes.

Guests sat in folding chairs or stood around the engine bay.

Hull and Preston — who received numerous awards and recognitions in their careers — retired after 28 and 27 years of service, respectively.

“I cannot say enough good things about these men,” Hicks said. “Both of them have had exemplary careers along with Nika in serving the community.”

The city is saying goodbye to “three good friends,” Hicks said.

Crawford said Preston “had a great heart” for the fire department and community, and always did what he thought was right for the department.

She said Hull had great pride in the department and is “an extremely humble person.”

Preston said he and Hull had worked with several previous fire chiefs and city managers.

“I can honestly say that I’ve worked with a good group of people … we have a good group of guys and I wouldn’t trade any of them,” Preston said.

“We’ve worked together through thick and thin. It’s been good.”