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Wayne’s last ride with the Boca Grande Fire Department

October 5, 2023
By Marcy Shortuse

There are always those guys who fly under the radar whenever possible and, quite often, they are the true heroes. Firefighter Wayne Griffith flew so low under the radar, it’s hard to find people who knew him very well, much less had heard him utter a word. We all knew his face, though, because whenever there were decorations to hang for a gala or for Christmas, T-shirts to sell, barbecue to cook or – of course – an island emergency of any sort, he was so often there.

Accompanied by a procession of his co-workers, Wayne took his last drive over the bridge as a firefighter on Friday, Sept. 29 under two extended ladder trucks. It was a small way to honor a huge career that spanned almost 30 years with the Boca Grande Fire Department, at least three years as a volunteer and 25 as a full-time firefighter. He went through three chiefs during his time on the island – Lew Morgan, Dave Edmonds and C.W. Blosser. 

He was one of the first three full-timers in 1988, installed one year before Morgan retired. It was a volunteer fire department prior to that year. In his career he had several large working fires under his belt, but it was his commitment to the daily routine that he is remembered for.

“I don’t think there was anything I ever asked him to do, that he didn’t do,” said Chief Blosser. “He was always there and always dependable – always ready to help. This department is losing a huge asset.”

While Wayne was unavailable for comment, prior to retirement he spoke of continuing on with his car detailing jobs and taking a few well-deserved vacations.

Thank you, Wayne, for your fearless service and dedication to protecting our community … and may you never have to do a truck check again.