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Services set Friday for retired fire chief Hendrix

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Forrest C. “Bud” Hendrix, who served as a Hendersonville city firefighter for 37 years, including hislast 15 years as fire chief, died peacefully on Tuesday, the city fire department said.

Chief Hendrix began his career with the City of Hendersonville Fire Department (HFD) in 1955 serving as a firefighter for 37 years. He advanced through the ranks, becoming Assistant Fire Chief in 1965 and Fire Chief in 1977; where he served until his retirement in 1992.

His vision for the Fire Department was immediately felt when Chief Hendrix made major plans for advancement in firefighter training. His first initiative was developing a comprehensive HFD formal training program. He required all firefighters take a 70-hour course in Advanced Firemanship, followed by a 12-hour pump school. He purchased new personal protective gear and radio equipment for firefighters, and arranged for the fire department radio transmissions to be monitored by on-duty police dispatchers.

Another major accomplishment was that he changed the inspection process to have all City businesses inspected by Fire Prevention and Inspection Officers. Chief Hendrix initiated programs for HFD to provide fire prevention in City public schools, churches and civic groups. Always an advocate for his Department, he fought to increase the pay of firefighters, due to their advanced certifications, skills and the evolution of fire service needs of the community.

Chief Hendrix had a pivotal role in the establishment of the Henderson County Firefighter Training Academy. He had significant leadership roles outside of Henderson County as well. In 1989 Chief Hendrix was appointed as a member of the State of NC Fire Commission, where his main focus was the State Fireman’s Certification Program. In 1991 he was elected President of the NC Firemen’s Association. These are a few examples of Chief Hendrix’s competence and progressive thoughts and actions for the betterment of the entire firefighting profession.

Chief Hendrix exhibited a deep love for serving the City of Hendersonville and the fire service. He had a profound commitment to the firefighters that served with him and went to great lengths to ensure members of the Department had the resources and training they needed to serve their community with integrity and honor, creating a legacy still in place today. After his retirement, Chief Hendrix remained active within the City and HFD community. Chief Hendrix and his wife Vera “Toostie” would make regular visits to the Fire Department and routinely attended City Council meetings. Chief Hendrix’s presence will be missed by all but his legacy will live on.

“Chief Hendrix was well respected in the fire service and will truly be missed by all that had the privilege to know him," City Fire Chief Joseph Vindigni said in a news release.

A funeral service will be held at First United Methodist at 2 p.m. on Friday, with a visitation starting at 12:30. Following the service, The Hendersonville Fire Department’s Engine #1 will escort Chief Hendrix to his final resting place at Forest Lawn Cemetery.