More than 100 members of the community, including first responders from every Wilson County agency, gathered to celebrate the new state-of-the-art fire station that will allow firefighters faster response times on the east side of the city.
The fire station was named in memory of Councilor Joe Hayes, who served Lebanon for 21 years, before he died in 2016.
Hayes’ wife, Nancy Hayes, spoke of her late husband’s selflessness and dedication to the community of Lebanon and Wilson County.
“He loved Lebanon and just did anything anybody asked him to do. It didn’t matter. And he never wanted any recognition or anything. He just wanted to get it done. He was just a good man, and everybody liked him. He had a lot of friends. He was just a good man,” Hayes said. “This is wonderful. I’m just so humbled and just so excited that they named it after him.”
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said the new fire station was in a prime location to expand the reach of services and will act as a unifying bond to the residents who live on the edges of both Lebanon and Mt. Juliet.
“It’s a good service to our people. It’s almost like we all become one big city, because we have these services that can reach out to the rural communities, and naming it after Joe Hayes, a great statesman, a guy who really did a lot for his community and was an icon really in the Wilson County area. So that couldn’t be any better,” Hutto said.
Lebanon Mayor Bernie Ash presented Nancy Hayes and the rest of the Hayes family with a plaque to commemorate the dedication of the fire station, while state Sen. Mark Pody presented Lebanon fire Chief Chris Dowell with Tennessee seal.
Dowell said the citizens of Ward 5 and Ward 6 will see insurance rates decrease because of the station. He said morale throughout the department is at an all-time high with the new station complete.
“This station means a lot, not only to the [firefighters] who come down here on a daily basis, but also for those who are stationed here and don’t have to go so far to calls or to come back and rest,” Dowell said.
Ash closed the ceremony as the American, Tennessee and Lebanon flags were raised to signify the fire station was officially open