Fire captain Goley Boggs has put out a lot of fires in 46 years.
One of Knightdale’s most dedicated firefighters is set to retire Aug. 1 after about 13 years with the young department.
Boggs, 64, started chasing fires as a boy growing up in Burlington. He joined the fire service at the age of 18 and signed up with East Wake volunteer department when he moved to the area in the 1980s.
“It started as childhood dreams and I just stuck with it,” Boggs said. “Growing up it was the excitement big red fire trucks and fires. But over the years when I got in it … I watched the fire department switch to medical stuff, we started going on all these wreck calls and the rescue phase of it. Then the longer I stayed in it, the more I liked being in it … being able to help somebody or save somebody’s life.”
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When the Knightdale Fire Station was birthed in 2002, he jumped in as part of the original crew.
Not only has he watched a department start from the ground up and take on medical calls along with fire emergencies, but Boggs has watched the department evolve as the town grows. Although his career is difficult to summarize, he has a few favorite highlights:
▪ Assisting in the creation of the first Knightdale Fire Station and developing the culture there.
▪ He has nine “code saves” to his name – people he has helped save from cardiac arrest. He’s also delivered several babies.
▪ In 2008, Boggs snagged the first Mayor’s award for serving the town with duty and thriftiness.
▪ He has been named Firefighter of the Year by the town.
▪ When a hazmat incident at the Knightdale McDonald’s sent six customers to the hospital in 2009, Boggs was on the scene. The frightening incident resulted in him taking trip to the hospital, as well.
▪ He created the department’s puppet show in 2013 for to teach fire safety in an entertaining way.
▪ He started family tradition. His son, Jason Boggs, now teaches fire training at Johnston Community College.
Service in career and character
Fire Lt. Chris Miller is a family friend of Boggs. The two worked at the East Wake department for a few years and most recently, on the same Knightdale shift for two years.
“He was one of my mentors back then (at East Wake),” Miller said. “He was kind of the reason I came back to the (Knightdale) department.”
Miller said that what stood out about Boggs’ service was the culture he created at the department of love for citizens and the public.
“We would go to eat and I can’t tell you a time we went out that he wouldn’t go to the truck to get a sticker, book or stuffed animal to give to a kid,” he said. “It was a daily occurrence, we had to make sure we had stickers on the truck for Goley to give them out.”
Fire chief Tim Guffey also lauded Boggs’ personality and kindness, saying that he “doesn’t know a stranger.”
Outside his fire work, Boggs works with a group of Knightdale firefighters who repair homes for families in need, including often raising the funds for the job.
At the station, Boggs would often make breakfast for the crew, among other giving gestures.
“It wasn't just the public – it was us, too,” Miller said of Boggs’ giving spirit. “And it wasn't just me, it was everybody.
“He’ll be our biggest fan.”
Boggs claims he’s “in retirement mode,” but for him, that means deep-sea fishing, spending time with his two grandsons, playing drums for a beach music band – and of course, volunteering a few times each month with the department.
The firefighters are throwing him a retirement bash at 12 p.m. on July 31, open to the public at the fire station.