Longtime Knoxville firefighter, dispatcher retires

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - After spending almost 40 years responding to people's emergencies, a local dispatcher and former firefighter is retiring.

After spending 32 years with Knoxville Fire Department and almost 14 years as a 911 operator, Juan Manning is hanging up his headset, like he did his turnouts 14 years ago.

"It's rewarding, all the years of service I've provided for the community, all the good times. And then in a way it's kind of sad, but I'll still be around," said Manning.

Manning called the old fire headquarters home. That's where Deputy Chief Gary Compton met him while in middle school. He says Manning helped make his firefighter dream come true. 

"I would classify him as a fireman's fireman," said Compton. "He always did his job. He always did it well. He was kind to people. He was a great mentor to our younger firefighters and he worked hard up until he left. He gave it his all."

Manning did the same as a dispatcher.

"Mostly I'll miss the people I work with, co-workers, because they're a great asset. They do the same job I do, so they're all legends," Manning said.

Manning said he's a big fan ot UT sports and now that he's retired, with more free time on his hands, he says he'd like to travel with the teams and watch them play in Atlanta, Cincinnati and St. Louis.   

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