Jack Collier, 63, is Harker Heights’ fire chief and lives in Killeen.
How long have you worked in Harker Heights?
A little over seven years now.
What do you enjoy most about working in Heights?
The camaraderie of the city staff, the growth that we’ve been experiencing and the challenges that come along with meeting the growth and the needs of the community. And the professionalism of the staff with both the city and the fire department.
Where are you from originally?
Born and raised in Temple.
What inspired you to get into this line of work?
This is going back almost 40 years now. A couple of close friends of mine were in Temple and got hired on the fire department and were telling me what a great job it was with great benefits and how much they enjoyed it. I went down to take the civil service test and the rest, as they say, is history.
When was that?
I started in Temple, Oct. 21, 1974, and worked my way up to deputy fire chief. Then in 1996, I was appointed the fire chief of the City of Del Rio, then I was appointed fire chief in New Braunfels, spent two years with Texas A&M University, then Jefferson Parish in Louisiana. I was appointed here on May 15, 2006.
Tell me about your family.
My wife’s name is Dorothy and she’s recently retired. She was an insurance agent with Allstate but she dabbles a little bit in real estate. I’ve got a son who’s a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Bryan Collier. He’s stationed in Sanderson and he’s been with them for seven years. We had a daughter who passed away in August 2008, and we’ve got two granddaughters by her. Their names are Carly and Callen and they live in Columbus, Ga.
Are you involved in any community activities, organizations or clubs?
I helped found and establish the Harker Heights Lions Club almost four years ago and I’m still an active member. I’m a member of the Chamber of Commerce and I’m actively involved in the community.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
Destin, Fla., which is in the panhandle — just absolutely gorgeous crystal clear water and gorgeous white sandy beaches. That’s one of our favorite places to go.
If you could change one thing about your life, what would that be and why?
I really wouldn’t change anything. I’ve had a good life. I don’t think I would change it. This business that I’m in is a calling just as sure as people are called to the cloth. Not everybody can do this, but it’s been a great career for me and very rewarding.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Chief Wallace Bearor was the fire chief of Temple who hired me and he was my mentor, so when I progressed up the ranks I served under him as deputy chief. One afternoon as he was fixing to leave and I was still hard at it, he said, “You need to get out of here. You’ve put in a full day’s work. It’ll still be here tomorrow. You worry about it then. Go home and forget about this for now.” That was great advice.