By CHRIS EVERSOLE
Retired Capt. Clarence Jones was the center of attention at Oklahoma City Fire Station 32 in Surrey Hills for two hours Monday.
Jones, 89, told stories to firefighters – some of whose fathers and grandfathers served with him – during his service from 1952 through 1977.
“I never knew they had these kind of get-togethers,” Jones said.
Actually, such opportunities rarely arise, said Maj. Ron Berry.
“It’s a big deal for a retiree to have that much time after they retire,” Berry said.
Berry now heads Fire Station 17, as did Jones before he retired.
Jones visited Station 32, located at 12233 N. Mustang Road, because it’s close to where he lives at Heritage Assisted Living, 9025 Northwest Expressway.
Crossroads Hospice arranged the visit with the help of Jones’s daughter, Angie Ingargiola.
The hospice, which has been assisting Jones since January, chose him for its Gift of the Day program.
Angie said her father began receiving hospice care after he had a stroke earlier this year, but he’s doing fine now.
“This is the best day of his life,” Angie said. “He’ll remember it for a long time.”
She recalled going to the fire station with her dad when she was growing up and seeing him slide down the pole from the second floor to the first floor.
“He was the best cook, and when the shift started at 7 a.m., he would have breakfast for the crew that was coming on,” she said.
Maggie Cannon, who has served as Jones’s nurse for four years, and other staff from the assisted living facility participated in the event.
“He’s my bud,” Cannon said. “He’s like my dad in a lot of ways.
“All the ladies love him.”
As he talked, “Jonesy” recalled that he received little training, but he relied on his fellow firefighters to learn the ropes.
Firefighters hung on the side of the fire trucks of yesterday.
With no GPS, reaching some addresses was tough.
“Finding some places was like finding a rat hole,” he said. “It was very difficult.”
As everyone was finishing their cake and ice cream, a medical call came into the station.
Jones thought for a moment before saying, “I’m not going to do it.”