Behind the Badge: Rural Metro’s guardian angel

Behind the Badge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Every single day, members of Knox County Rural Metro Fire put their lives on the line in all kinds of conditions to protect the community they serve.

The question is, who is protecting them?

Recently, we met up with Gerald Roe, a former firefighter with Rural Metro, who has now taken on the roll of Guardian Angel of sorts.

“A lot of time it goes unseen but it’s not about that,” says Roe, “It’s making sure every man every woman and every family is taken care of. Everybody goes home.”

It’s been close to seven years since Roe last donned the fire gear on the front lines, but it doesn’t mean he has retired. Instead, he has now taken the roll as “Fire Support.”

Making sure the crews battling the fires are well taken care of.

“He’s done things like going down to the Wiegels with his own money. Buying waters for the guys in the middle of summer. Bringing it back to make sure they have water. Even though we may have some, he’ll go get more,” says Rural Metro Captain Jeff Bagwell.

“I carry a big cooler,” Roe tells us. “What I do is I keep everything stocked from water to Powerade to Gatorade to towels.”

It’s that dedication to keeping everyone safe that has earned Gerald the respect and admiration of those around him.

“Gerald is probably one of the most compassionate people that I’ve ever met,” says Captain Bagwell.

And it’s that appreciation that Gerald says goes a long way as he is in no hurry to officially retire.

“I’m still young,” he says. “I just got an older body.”

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