Houston fire chief withdraws resignation
Chief Garrison announced he was stepping down to help care for his ailing 20-month-old grandson in Phoenix; the family decided to relocate to Houston
HOUSTON — Houston Fire Chief Terry Garrison is sticking around, after all.
Garrison, 56, had told Mayor Annise Parker he would stay five years when he was hired in September 2010, but announced less than two weeks ago he was stepping down to return to Phoenix to help care for his ailing 20-month-old grandson, Jack.
A recent change in the boy's care, however, made it more logical for the family to relocate to Houston, with its renowned Texas Medical Center, Garrison said Tuesday.
"We initially felt Phoenix was the best place logistically to care for our grandson. However, shortly after submitting my resignation, there was a major change in his health care needs that makes Houston and the Texas Medical Center our best hope in moving Jack's health in a positive direction," Garrison wrote in a letter to fire department staff. "I look forward to continuing as Fire Chief of this great city and I am comforted knowing that my family will be embraced in the same manner."
Garrison has said his family had planned to relocate to Houston, but remained in Arizona after learning of the boy's condition; the chief made frequent weekend trips to visit.
Garrison has said Jack is afflicted by a feeding disorder, causing a "failure to thrive." He said the toddler weighs only about 19 pounds and is fed through a tube in his stomach.
"Chief Garrison has made great strides for our fire department, and while I know of his family's hardships, I welcome his decision to stay in Houston to keep that momentum going," Parker said in a statement. "His family will have access to the best resources in the medical field, and that is part of what makes our city great."
Garrison began his firefighting career in 1977 with the Phoenix Fire Department, rising to assistant chief before leaving in 2007. Garrison served as fire chief for a small community in California from 2007 to 2009 and then served a brief stint as interim chief of a small department near Phoenix before coming to Houston in fall 2010.
The Garrison family is expected to relocate to Houston over the next few months.
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