Deputy Chief Reese Kent

Reese Kent was my father.  He worked his way up the ranks of the Greensboro Fire Dept., and was First Deputy Chief when he retired.

When Larry said I could write a post about Dad, I thought I would write about him being a firefighter. I cannot do that---what I know about it is insufficient. Only other firefighters truly understand it. I can tell you Dad loved being a firefighter and very much valued the many friendships he made during his years with the Greensboro Fire Dept.  I can tell you that one of the things he loved was when it was his turn to cook at Central Station. He thought he was a great cook. He was right. He was.

I could tell you things about being a child of a firefighter---about a lot of the stations and the training center.  Most of all, I remember visiting as a child at Central Station----the cool pool table with the leather strips for pockets, and the balcony where I once was allowed to watch the Greensboro Christmas parade. My dad was Santa Claus in that parade one year.  There was a wonderful soda machine with the glass bottles lined up on their sides. The tower where the hoses were hung to dry was an almost mystical, scary place for a kid. I was never allowed to slide down the brass poles, though I badly wanted to do so.  I remember once talking to a group of firefighters reading the Sunday comics. I sat on a bench with them while they read it to me. They each took the part of a character in each comic strip and read it like they were in a play.  It makes me smile even now.

I can tell you Dad was a wonderful father.  As a firefighter, his schedule was such that sometimes he was free to do things with me.  That is when he wasn’t working a second job. I loved Kelly Days. It seems he knew how to do so many things. He had so many interests. I wish I had been willing enough to let him teach me more. He was a patient father. I am living proof of that. There were so many times he should have pinched my head off. But he didn’t. He was a true family man. When I talked to Larry he told me how sweet my mom, Betty, was. And, she was. She also had a mischievous side. I cannot write about my father and leave her out. She was sweet, but she was strong enough to keep my father in line………….mostly.

Both my parents were very active in Congregational United Church of Christ and were named as saints there. Dad was a scout leader there and received one of Scouting’s highest awards.

I never realized how I could go on and on about my father and never cover it all, until I started writing this.

Dad has been gone now for over a decade. I can still feel him looking over my shoulder sometimes, when I am working on a project around the house. When there is snow on the ground, I hear him speak to me. “Feed the birds, boy.” Above all things I wish he could have met his great-grand kids. He would have so loved them.

Recently, a singer/song writer named John Prine passed away. The verse below is from one of his songs. It will always remind me of my dad.

“Well, sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River

To the abandoned old prison down by Airdrie Hill

Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols

 But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.”

 By:  Jim Kent