After a career spanning nearly 30 years, Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Chief Stephen G. Simon has decided to retire, effective March 1, 2021. In the coming weeks, an interim chief will be named.
“I have been blessed to serve the community as a member of the Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department and privileged to have had the opportunity to lead the organization,” said Simon. “I am grateful to the men and women of the Department who provide the exceptional service our citizens have come to expect.”
Colleagues hail Simon’s even-keeled demeanor, sincere commitment and impressive work ethic to his department. Longtime friend Daniel O’Donnell, a County Administrator, wholeheartedly agrees.
“Steve has had a long and distinguished career in public service,” O’Donnell said. “He is to be commended for his dedication to the profession and to serving the citizens of Roanoke County. We will miss his leadership and guidance but wish him well in the next phase of life.”
As a kid growing up, Simon’s parents told him that if he ever had a problem, he should go to the fire station. And that is exactly what Simon did regularly. To me, a firefighter has always been someone to look up to, he said before adding, I would often daydream in high school about being a firefighter and helping people.
In 1986, Simon began his career as a fire department volunteer in Prince William County. In 1994, he was hired as a Roanoke County Paramedic and Firefighter. Over the years, he was promoted through the ranks from Fire Lieutenant to EMS Captain, Battalion Chief and Deputy Chief. For the last five years, he has served as Roanoke County’s Fire & Rescue Chief.
Simon has served as adjunct faculty for Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Hampton University and Radford University. He’s also served on multiple regional, state and federal committees for the betterment of Fire-EMS services in Roanoke County. Simon is also on the board of the Western Virginia EMS Council, representing Roanoke County for the last 17 years.
With so many missed opportunities over the years due to the demand of his job, Simon is looking forward to making as many memories as possible with his wife and two teenage children, Grace and Kobey.
“They allowed me to go to work every day. Without their support, there is no way I would have the career I do now. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend every game or recital that I wanted. Their selfless attitudes did not go unnoticed over these years,” he said. “I am looking forward to giving them my undivided attention without any interruptions from work.”