Today is the last day on the job for Grand Junction firefighter Mike Gazdak. After 39 years and nine months of full-time service, he is retiring.

If you watch local TV news, you've probably heard Mike Gazdak's name a thousand times. No, it's not that he's been getting into trouble. Just the opposite. He's served just shy of 40 years with the Grand Junction Fire Department. Frequently, it's Mike you'll see reporting a local fire or other emergencies.

In addition to his service as a firefighter, Mike is one of the best musicians in the Valley. I first met him working with the Men of Music, a Big Band under the direction of Frank Bregar, back in 1989. Since then, I've played with him in dozens of other ensembles.

Recently, you've seen Mike playing piano with the Frank Bregar Orchestra, Rock N' Swing, The Swing City Express, and as a solo pianist and accordionist. Check out Mike at this recording session with the Frank Bregar Orchestra.

I knew his retirement was approaching, but, somehow, it still took me by surprise. Late last night, via his personal Facebook page, Mike announced his retirement.

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm retiring from the Fire Department this Friday after 39 years and 9 months full-time service. It's been a wonderful, fulfilling career that I've enjoyed very much. This job was a dream come true for me when I had the opportunity to move to Colorado and be a Firefighter back in 1979. I have lots of memories of fun times at work and interesting/sometimes dangerous or crazy calls to remember in the years to come.- Mike Gazdak

Over the years, Mike fought several fires in Mesa County. Below you'll find a video comprised of Bob Grant photos. The video celebrates Grand Junction firefighters of the past. I know Mike was part of the crew responding to the fire you'll see in the video at 2:46.

Here's wishing you a great retirement, Mike! Wait... I'm getting a vision... it's ... it's your future I see. Wait... I think I see a cruise ship. Yep, I see cruise ships in your future. I also see many more amazing gigs. Bon Voyage, Mike. Thank you for 40 years of service.

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