The Garden City Commission unanimously approved a request Tuesday to rename the city's downtown fire station after Allen Shelton, the department's first full-time chief who retired last week after 44 years.
Central Station, located on South Ninth Street, will now be called the Allen Shelton Central Fire Station. Upon the approval, everyone in the commission chambers rose in a standing ovation.
Shelton joined the Garden City Fire Department in 1975, soon after becoming volunteer assistant chief in 1978 and volunteer fire chief in 1982. In 1984, he became the department's first paid fire chief. Since then, the department had grown from one full-time employee — Shelton — to 38, including three battalion chiefs, a fire marshal, six lieutenants, 26 firefighters and an administration assistant, according to the name change request. A part of many firefighting associations and organizations over the years, he was instrumental in building a culture of continued education at the department and the fire science curriculum at Garden City Community College. He retired Friday, June 28.