CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In Tuesday's regularly scheduled city council meeting, Corpus Christi Fire Chief Robert Rocha, who is set to retire, was commemorated for his more than a decade of service to the Coastal Bend.
3NEWS was present at Tuesday's meeting and heard from Rocha himself as well as city officials on where the future of the fire department is headed.
"Its been an honor to serve this city alongside you," he said.
Colleagues on council took turns thanking Rocha for his accomplishments in the last 11 years. From spearheading a first-of-its-kind Save our Seniors Homebound program -- where CCFD and EMS provided COVID-19 vaccines to the most vulnerable -- to getting the department fully staffed.
"I'm grateful to be able to leave the department in a situation in which all of our firetrucks and all of our ambulances have enough firefighters to be placed on them," he said. "And then we have an amazing group of fire cadets that will come in and replace those retirees."
While Rocha will be passing the torch, he said that he has built a special connection to the city he has served faithfully.
"Its been a great time in Corpus Christi for me," he said. "Having the privilege to serve as fire chief for a city I absolutely love, in fact I'm going to make it my hometown now," he said.
According to City Manager Peter Zanoni, the global search for Rocha's replacement has officially begun.
"So the next steps for the fire department like any executive positions is we will do a local, statewide, and national recruitment effort," he said.
Zanoni said they haven't decided whether they will bring in a recruitment firm that specializes in public safety, or utilize local talent they have in the department already.
"But in any one of these decisions we want to make sure we cast our net wide enough to get the best person for the community to advance the department forward for Corpus Christi," he said.
Rocha said he will continue to serve as a president of the Metropolitan Fire Chief's Association, an international group representing more than 130 fire chiefs.
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