Bowling Green Fire Dept. Captain retires, reflects on 22 years of service

Capt. Michael Alexander joined the BGFD on January 6, 1997.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Working as a firefighter isn’t a job for everyone, but for some, it becomes a life-changing career.

“I’ve worked 22 years at the Bowling Green Fire Department and I’ve never woke up a day and said I don’t want to go to work,” said Bowling Green Fire Department Captain Michael Alexander.

After 22 years of service to this community, Alexander has decided to hang up the hose, take off the boots, and put away his helmet.

He’s finally made the difficult choice to retire.

“Deciding to leave is easy. That’s the easy part,” Alexander said. “I’ll tell you right now, going out that door is the hardest part. You realize this is the last, last shift.”

For Alexander, walking out that door was the hardest part because it meant walking away from a job that has meant so much to him after 22 years.

“I loved my job every day. It’s the greatest,” he said. “It’s the greatest job there ever was.”

While leaving the force wasn’t easy, walking away from the people who are like family to him was almost unbearable.

“I clocked out. It was 15 to 20 minutes after midnight. I’m off the clock. I’m not a fireman anymore, and I had to leave my guys…that’s hard,” Alexander said. “They’re brothers and little brothers. It was hard for me.”

One family member of Alexander’s who was perplexed by his decision to become a firefighter was his own father, who questioned why Alexander would want work in a field that involves witnessing and dealing with so many bad situations. But for Alexander, it had nothing to do with want, but everything to do with a sense of obligation to this community.

“It’s just the fact that I can and that I can see that and I can deal with it and handle it and take care of it,” said Alexander. “Somebody has to.”

Alexander said he’s learned a lot of life lessons along the way, but there’s one in particular that stands out in his mind after going through fire and flames for the last 22 years.

“You learn that what most people think is a really bad day, you really have no idea what a really bad day is,” he said.

When Alexander first started as a firefighter on January 6, 1997, he was one of eight individuals selected for the job out of a pool of more than 350 applicants, a humbling honor for the now retired captain.

Reaching this point in his career, and having the one he did, was never something he could’ve ever imagined, but he said if given the opportunity, he’d do it all over again.

“I can tell you that when you spend 22 years working at a job you do like, and love, and you like the guys you work with, 22 years goes by really quick,” Alexander said.

With retirement now a reality, Alexander plans to spend more quality time with his family, and explore other less-demanding fields of work.