Firefighting runs deep in the veins of Thomson Fire/Rescue's Paul Johnson.
It's a job he's enjoyed for the past 30 years not only in his volunteer capacity, locally, but as a full-time firefighter with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. There he is known as Lt. Johnson.
During the annual Thomson Fire/Rescue banquet at the Thomson Depot, Chief Rick Sewell promoted him from captain to one of the department's assistant chiefs.
"This promotion is well deserved," Chief Sewell said. "Paul has been a volunteer firefighter and a ranking officer within the department for a long time. He has always done an outstanding job at whatever he's done for us."
Chief Sewell said his newest assistant chief is "an exceptional leader" and that he is looking forward to working even more closely with Mr. Johnson in his new leadership role.
Mr. Johnson, a 1979 graduate of Thomson High School, has been a member of the local fire department since 1980. In 1983, he was named the Most Improved Firefighter in the department. In 1985, he was named Firefighter of The Year.
Since then, Mr. Johnson has worked his way through the ranks. Before his newest promotion, he had served as captain of Engine Company 704.
"This collar insignia shall be worn on the uniform collars and shall be respected by all firefighters of this department," Chief Sewell said.
In his new position, Mr. Johnson will be assigned to Engine Company 703.
Fellow firefighters watched as Mr. Johnson received his new rank insignia -- three crossed bugles -- to be worn on his dress blue uniform. They were pinned on him by his wife, Robin, and Chief Sewell.
Deputy Chief Johnny Crawley later presented Assistant Chief Johnson with a new white fire helmet.
Mr. Johnson said he feels honored to have received the promotion.
"It means a lot to me," Assistant Chief Johnson said. "It really does."
He thanked his fellow firefighters with the local fire department, in addition to his wife for her many years of support and attempt to understand his job as a firefighter.