Marco Island honors Fire Marshal Munyon as he retires after 30 years of service

Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department honored Fire Marshal Ray Munyon on Thursday as he retired after 30 years of service on the island.

Munyon was in charge of investigating fires and helped improve the city's fire prevention code for more than 10 years. As the department's chaplain, he provided spiritual support to firefighters and their families.

Munyon thanked his family who was present at Fire Station 50 along with dozens of firefighters, police officers, city staff and elected officials.

"For the last 30 years, since I was a volunteer, their sleep, their pattern of life has been interrupted day in and day out," he said.

Munyon said he was the only certified fire investigator in the department for many years, getting emergency calls in the middle of the night.

"One of the reasons I continued to do it is because I always had a desire to help people," he said.

Munyon also gave a word of advice to the firefighters present.

"You don't do anything by yourself, you work as a team," he said. "That's what being a firefighter is all about."

Munyon told firefighters to always do their role to the best of their abilities and for the right reasons.

"If you are not going to do it for the right reasons, I guarantee you are not going to be here long," he said.

Fire-Rescue Chief Christopher Byrne thanked Munyon for keeping civilians and firefighters safe.

Just this month, the owner of a vacant commercial building told Munyon in jest it did not matter if the building burned down because nobody was ever inside, Byrne said.

"It is the firefighters who are going to come in, they are the ones who are going to get hurt," Munyon told the owner, Byrne said.

Former Fire-Rescue Chief Michael Murphy, who retired earlier this year, thanked Munyon for being an example to the younger generation of firefighters.

"Ray is an absolute professional who could always be counted on to do the right thing in accordance to the fire code for the safety of the citizens and the home and business owners," Murphy said.

Marco Island Fire-Rescue Chief Christopher Byrne speaks during a ceremony in Fire Station 50 to honor Fire Marshal Ray Munyon as he retires after 30 years of service on the island on Dec. 17, 2020.

From July:Marco Island Fire-Rescue Chief Murphy: Being a firefighter means having two families

And:Marco Island selects retired Deputy Chief Byrne as new fire chief

Munyon began with the department as a volunteer in 1987 to assist the community of Goodland where he lived, according to the city's website. He later became a state certified EMT and firefighter.

In 1989, Munyon was officially hired by the department as a firefighter. He rose through the ranks until becoming fire marshal. 

Munyon also served as both the vice president and president of the Collier County Fire Marshals Association for five years.

Munyon exited Fire Station 50 one last time with his family via honorary procession as people applauded. He then got into a ladder truck and waved goodbye, siren blaring, as emergency vehicles prepared to escort him home.

"What keeps you going is that you are working with family," Munyon said. "We do what we do because we have a family to protect,"

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