Fire chief plans to retire after more than 20 years

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

After more than 20 years of service for the Portales Fire Department, Jesse Mowrer is hanging up his fire hat and putting away his boots to spend more time with his family.
Mowrer has worked for the fire department for almost 21 years in different capacities ranging from firefighter, emergency management director, battalion chief to fire chief. Mowrer’s resignation will be effective Oct. 1.

Mowrer said retirement will allow him to spend more time with his daughters and attend their activities such as band performances and sporting events.

“I decided to spend more time with my kids while they are still young,” Mowrer said.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be able to have the opportunity to spend time with them. I’m going to miss the people, the camaraderie. It’s like being family here. I love the excitement.”

His wife, Donna Mowrer is the senior prosecutor for the Ninth Judicial District Court.

“At times it gets hard,” Jesse Mowrer said about he and his wife’s efforts to spend with their children. “We’ve been able at times to work it out, but there are occasions where we are real busy.”

Mowrer was named interim fire department chief in March 2004 after Steve Beaty retired. He was named fire chief of the 24-member fire department six months later.

“Jesse’s been a great asset to the city in my tenure,” Portales City Manager Debi Lee said. “He’s done a marvelous job. He has a lot of history with the department. He’s been able to balance the needs of the community with the resources of the fire department.”

Lee said the city is currently receiving applications for the position. Lee said an assessment team will be created to evaluate the candidates and help in the selection of a new fire chief.

It is the second loss of a high-ranking member for the fire department. Mike Running resigned as fire marshal in February to take a job as Clayton’s city manager.

“I’d like to thank the citizens of Portales for working with the fire department for the last 20 years and their support,” Jesse Mowrer said. “The relationship between the fire department and the citizens is what makes the fire department as good as it is.”