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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -
The Lake Charles Fire Department celebrated the longtime service of three firefighters among friends and family on Saturday, Dec. 29.
Gerald C. Fontenot served as Assistant Chief and with the LCFD for 40 years.
Wayne Weston served as District Chief and with the LCFD for 36 years and six months.
John Rene served as Captain and with the LCFD for 36 years.
This night celebrating retirement was a night they've all been waiting for.
"It's nice so far. But there's one thing different ... I can grow hair on my face for a change!" Fontenot laughed after being asked what it was like finally retiring after 40 years of service.
Weston said retirement feels "very good" so far. "Relax for a little while and be free, free, free and be able to do what I want," he said.
"I love it. I've been waiting for this day for a long time. Where I can start enjoying time off and try to play more golf. Try to get a little better at golf!" Rene said.
The whole room at the American Legion Post in Lake Charles was decorated with pictures and other memorabilia remembering the many years of dedication from the three men. And the thing they'll miss most about working for the fire department?
"All the guys are like family because we are with each other 24 hours a day, so you have to have a good relationship with them," Rene said. "I will miss the guys the most. The job? I don't know. But the guys I will miss."
"It's the comradery. Me, Gerald and John been together so long, our families knew everybody. Everybody was family," Weston said.
"The day I began and the day I left!" Fontenot said.
And rightly so, but their many years of service won't go unrecognized or unappreciated, especially here as they celebrate their success.