For two of Marco Island’s First Responders, the often-quoted line by General Douglas MacArthur regarding retirement must have been ringing in the ears of City Fire Marshal Ray Munyon and Police Sergeant Brian Hood. Both received well wishes and accolades as they turned in their retirement paperwork and walked out the doors of their respective departments in December, to the cheers, fist bumps and wailing sirens of fire apparatus and police cruisers as family and friends looked on.
Both had been dedicated city employees, with combined service to the community of over 52 years. Munyon had come to the Marco Fire–Rescue Department in 1989, after serving for two years as a volunteer. He began doing fire investigations as a volunteer, then obtained his fire inspection certification and spent time working in the capacities of Firefighter, Fire Inspector and Plan Reviewer. He also became the department’s first State Certified Fire Investigator. Munyon obtained the position of Fire Marshal/Division Chief in 2007.
He was a man of few words and saved the most important ones for those he would counsel in his role as the Department Chaplain and as a minister at the Goodland Baptist Church, a role he always cherished.
Over the 30 plus years he has spent in the fire service, Munyon has seen many changes and received compliments from the men and women like him who have served the community so unselfishly.
“You could always rely upon Ray’s good judgement and calm demeanor to handle most every circumstance which came his way. We are losing a great asset, but we wish him and his family well in this next chapter of their lives,” said Fire–Rescue Chief Chris Byrne.
Other city employees, staff and fellow firefighters joined in as the department celebrated his last day, including former Chief Michael Murphy, who also praised Munyon’s dedication to the fire service.
Sergeant Brian Hood of the Marco Island Police Department had been on the job in Marco for 21 years. He previously had served with the Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Department in Maryland and, prior to that, with the Department of Defense.
He came to Marco Island as part of the newly created Public Safety Department, which saw both law enforcement and fire–rescue personnel cross trained in both professions. That was a short-lived experiment, and Sergeant Hood was one of four remaining officers who were part of that program who continued to serve after creation of the stand-alone agency which today makes up the Marco Island Police Department. Besides Hood, Captain David Baer, Sergeant Hector Diaz, Officer Paul Keys and Officer Jason Nachtrab are the remaining officers who also joined under that program.
Hood joined the department in October 1999 and obtained his Florida Law Enforcement Certification as well as receiving his State of Florida Firefighter Certification.
In addition to carrying out patrol duties for the Marco Police Department, he also oversaw both property and evidence responsibilities. He also served for many years as the Special Events Coordinator for the department, coordinating the logistical duties of events such as Christmas Island Style, the Marco Island Seafood Festival, the Irish/American Parade and Celebration, as well as many other special events that required synchronizing the need for city support.
He also was a certified Marine Patrol Officer, overseeing that aspect of the department’s responsibilities for a while, in addition to being a patrol shift supervisor.
City Manager Michael McNees complimented both individuals for their dedication and service to the community. “These two individuals exemplified the highest standards of service, integrity and professionalism to our community, its residents and visitors. We owe them a great debt of gratitude. They will be missed,” said McNees in reflecting on their service.