Fire chief leaving for new position with hospital

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

After nearly 21 years serving Portales and surrounding townships, Portales Fire Chief John Bridges is retiring to take on another role in helping the community.

Tuesday night, Bridges’ intentions to retire Nov. 27 were announced at the city council meeting in City Hall. Bridges has accepted a position with the Roosevelt General Hospital as the assistant director of patient care and plans to start work on Dec. 14.

“I have been blessed in serving in one of the most honorable professions in our country,” Bridges said.

The retiring chief said he was also blessed to serve with Portales firefighters, who he called “one of the finest fire and emergency medical service teams in the state of New Mexico.”

“It has been an honor for me to serve this community throughout my career, and I plan to continue that,” Bridges said in closing.

“Thank you very much and good luck to you,” Councilor Dianne Parker said.

Parker was leading the council in the absence of Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr.

In other business, the council approved a resolution for Vigil Corporation, which operates Vines Italian Restaurant, for $50,000 of reimbursement for building maintenance.

Howell said Vigil has to show that he has specific expenses to receive the reimbursement.

In other business, the council:

• approved a notice of intent to adopt an ordinance annexing Sunland Inc. to the city and instituting zoning in the area. A public hearing is set for Dec. 1.

• authorized the sale of surplus items through the Internet at

• awarded a bid to Liquid Waste Management of Longmont, Colo., for removal and disposal of wastewater lagoon solids.

• heard Community Affairs Coordinator Nicole Wilkening announce the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree is set for Nov. 16.