The Redondo Beach Fire Department is losing one of the good guys.
Division Chief Steve Hyink, who is retiring after nearly 30 years of service with the fire department, received the key to the city after a brief presentation Tuesday night.
"We have the honor of giving Steve Hyink the key to the city because he's going to leave us after almost 30 years," said Mayor Steve Aspel. "Which is good for him (but) bad for us because he's a very valuable member of our city and of our fire department."
Hyink began his career in Redondo Beach in 1984, and he worked his way through the ranks of engineer and captain before his promotion to division chief in 2006, according to Mayor Steve Aspel.
"In that very brief time it became very apparent to me the quality of individual that (Hyink) is," Fire Chief Robert Metzger, who joined the department this year, told those gathered at the council meeting. "In the fire service, we can basically tell who's real and who's a poser … Steve is the real deal.
Hyink received a standing ovation after Metzger's comments.
"It's probably a good thing I'm leaving because I've been here for almost every bad incident that happened," he joked, noting that he was one of the first on the scene for the devastating fire at the Redondo Beach Pier and the massive fish kill in King Harbor. "The fellowship I had here with all the employees with the fire department and the community I'll treasurer for the rest of my life."
Hyink was also the member of the fire department who initially got the ball rolling for a new kitchen at Fire Station No. 1. He wrote a letter to the Family Handyman to enter the department in its "Rescue Remodel" competition; though the RBFD did not win the $25,000 Ikea makeover, local organization Sharefest and the community stepped up to donate a $200,000 remodel of much of the station.
"(Hyink's) decision to retire is truly a sad moment for the fire department because he offers a level of leadership that … you could go almost anywhere else in any other fire department and probably not find it. He's quality all the way through and I'm going to miss him quite a bit."