Dr. Robert “Bob” Moye is 55 now, but in 1978 he was 13, barely a teenager, a ninth-grader at Farragut High School. That’s when he became part of Rural Metro’s Explorer Post 453 and today, 42 years later, Bob is still a part of Rural Metro.
He is both the agency’s oldest and longest-serving Reserve Firefighter/Advanced EMT and a founding member of Station 15 in Cedar Buff when it opened in 1984. “I’m the last of the original crew from Station 15,” Bob says. “I was there when we carried in the beds and linens and set things up. I helped drive the trucks in. Rural Metro had six stations then and today we have 18.”
Station 15 is just off Middlebrook Pike at 1012 Summer Wood Rd. If you’ve driven past it perhaps you noticed these words above the two bay doors:
RURAL METRO FIRE DEPT
ROBERT A. MOYE FIRE STATION 15
Not many people have fire halls named for them. But during an event at the station in 2014 to celebrate its 30th anniversary, Rural Metro brass and others surprised him when it was announced that the station was being named for him.
He and his wife, Sandy, are long-time Cedar Bluff residents and live two minutes from Station 15. His main job for many years as a reserve firefighter is driving the “tender” truck, or what many call the tanker. He still drives it. It carries 1,000 gallons of water and is necessary when there are no fire hydrants close to a burning home or other structures.
There are four Moye boys. At one point all worked at Rural Metro at the same time. He was led into this work by his older brothers – Jerry and Charlie. Jerry today is Rural Metro Fire Chief Jerry Harnish. Charlie is the fire chief at the BASF Corp. chemical plant near Mobile, Alabama, and younger brother Will is now a physician’s assistant (PA) in North Carolina.
“I saw Jerry and Charlie and what they did when they were Explorers, and I knew this was a good opportunity to explore career choices and professions. I was sold on what they were doing,” Bob Moye says. “I loved the whole environment of serving the community and being there to help people. You get it in your blood. It’s all about the service and the brotherhood we have at Rural Metro.”
This is his second career. His first career? You recall seeing “Dr.” before his name. He is a Doctor of Pharmacy (University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, Class of 1990) and today works at UT Medical Center. He wears two hats there – clinical pharmacist specialist, internal medicine; and associate professor at the UT College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Moye brings that career to the table as well at Rural Metro and AMR’s ambulance staff. He often teaches EMTs and paramedics about the drug business – which drugs to use for specific injuries and conditions. “I also make sure they understand the dosage guidelines, how the drugs work and the side effects,” he says.
He received a major award in 2016, being named one of 23 recipients of the “Star of Life” nationwide award from the American Ambulance Association. This award honors unsung ambulance and EMT heroes.
And then there’s this … when he was in pharmacy school for four years in Memphis he found time to volunteer with the Bartlett Fire Department in Shelby County. When he was back in Knoxville during those years, he would work as needed at Rural Metro.
The Moye family is active at Fellowship Church on Middlebrook Pike. Bob and Sandy have two children: Erin, a rising senior at UT, and Nathan, a senior at the L&N STEM Academy.
“I still love it, being on the tender engine, serving our community, making a difference, and working with everyone at the station,” he said. “As long as I’m physically able to do it, I will. It’s a blessing.”
Editor’s Note: This is part of a weekly series – Our Town Heroes – highlighting Knoxville’s emergency-service/first responder professionals. If you have suggestions about someone we should feature, email Tom King or call him at 865-659-3562.