Family, friends, and colleagues gathered Friday afternoon at Fire Station 1 to celebrate the official appointment of Pat McElroy as Santa Barbara’s city Fire Chief. The swearing in ceremony started off with an introduction by Fire Captain Gary Pitney, who praised McElroy's achievements; then McElroy's niece, Katie, took the podium to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
After Chaplain Jerry Gray led the crowd in prayer, McElroy raised his right hand as he took the oath administered by Mayor Helene Schneider. McElroy, adorned in leis from his family, held back tears as he expressed his gratitude for the support of his family and friends and the City of Santa Barbara. In attendance was a large representation of Santa Barbara brass, including outgoing Fire Chief Andrew DiMizio, Police Chief Cam Sanchez, Assistant Police Chief Frank Mannix, and District Attorney Joyce Dudley.
McElroy began working with the Santa Barbara Fire Department in 1981, before being appointed to captain in 1990. McElroy took over as interim chief after DiMizio retired this past December, and he was one of 35 final candidates selected by City Administrator Jim Armstrong after a intensive recruitment process.
“Pat exemplifies the heart and soul of this fire department,” Captain Pitney said on Friday.
This article was amended on March 4, 2013, to reflect the fact that it was McElroy's niece (not his daughter) who took the stage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.