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Longtime firefighter marks the end of 2011 with retirement

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He started his career in emergency response as a 14-year-old.  This weekend, more than 35 years later, Crestwood resident Mark Gardner marks the end of 2011 with his retirement from the South Oldham Fire Department. 

Gardner, who most recently served as deputy chief of SOFD, retired Dec. 31.

In his many years in the fire service, Gardner has also served as a training officer and as an EMT.

Gardner said he was 14 when he and his best friend, Jeff Tanselle, walked into the Pewee Valley fire station and signed on as junior firefighters.

Within a year, Gardner said the pair had the chance to ride the engine and run firehoses just like veteran members of the department.

His career includes service to the Pewee Valley and South Oldham fire departments.

“Mark’s leadership and guidance will be missed,” South Oldham Fire Chief Edward Turner said. “He has been an asset to not only the South Oldham Fire Department, but also to the fire service in general.”

Gardner’s most memorable fire occurred in Henry County at a veneer plant. Crews from fire departments as far away as Fern Creek came to assist in battling the blaze.

Long before creation of Oldham County EMS, Gardner served as an EMT.

Gardner said one of his most memorable runs was performing CPR on a 7-year-old girl all the way to a downtown hospital. She is still alive to this day.

During his career as an emergency responder, he has also assisted in delivering three babies.

Gardner is a graduate of Oldham County High School. He and his wife, Becky, live in Crestwood, and have a grown son, Tyler.