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Granite Shoals turns to veteran firefighter with community ties to lead department

Tim Campbell is the new Granite Shoals Fire Rescue chief

Tim Campbell is the new Granite Shoals Fire Rescue chief, taking over with the departure of Austin Stanphill. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Tim Campbell is the new Granite Shoals Fire Rescue chief after serving 17 years as the department’s assistant chief.

When Granite Shoals City Manager Jeff Looney offered the position to Campbell, he accepted on the spot. City officials announced the promotion Thursday, Dec. 9.

Campbell takes over following the departure of Austin Stanphill, who led the department for 13 years. Officials would not elaborate on Stanphill’s departure, citing personnel matters.

Campbell began the assistant chief role 17 years ago, first on a part-time basis before the city made it a full-time job eight years ago. Campbell also served 13 years as a battalion chief for Travis County Emergency Services District No. 1 while he worked for Granite Shoals. 

When Campbell started at Granite Shoals, only the fire chief was paid, so the Travis County job supported him.

His heart, however, was in Granite Shoals.

“This is where I live,” he said. “This was my first paid job. I left (Travis County ESD No. 1) last year to focus on Granite Shoals. This is where I want to be. This is where I want to retire.” 

Looney said Campbell is the right person for the chief’s spot.

“Tim has been heading the day-to-day. He’s inherently involved in this community,” he said. “He works very closely with the public works (department) and with the police department.”

Campbell has one change in mind for the department. He doesn’t want to hire an assistant chief. Instead, he’d like to hire one full-time firefighter and promote three full-time firefighters to lieutenants to ensure the department has a lieutenant on duty 24 hours a day. 

He plans to outline his vision to city leaders in the near future. 

Why the Granite Shoals community means so much to Campbell was on display Dec. 3-4 when the city launched its Christmas festivities. The weekend included Santa Claus traveling through neighborhoods, visiting with children, and helping light the Christmas by the Highway display that Friday night. 

The next morning, Campbell and others flipped pancakes and served them during a Breakfast with Santa event as families enjoyed the time together.

And even more of that community spirit shone bright when word spread of a Granite Shoals family who needed help buying Christmas presents for their children. Several Granite Shoals first responders checked in on the family and found that their home needed work as well.

The first responders made some calls.

“In three hours, we raised $4,000,” Campbell said. “There aren’t too many communities where you can make phone calls and make things happen. That’s what I love about Granite Shoals. We have a small, tight-knit community, and most know everybody.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com