By Captain Violante
“I think the moment she stepped into the station we knew Stephanie Burton (maiden name) was serious about her career. Everyone felt like they better push themselves a little to keep up with the new hire. She came from Valdosta and had experience. She came in ready to work.
But she also had an infectious playful side. She kept you on point while making you laugh. Everyone smiles, laughs, and wants a hug from her. You want to be by her side.
What many may not realize about Chief Stephanie Harpring is: her devotion to Janet Jackson is strong, her Diana Ross karaoke impression is stellar, her mad cooking abilities like grilled chicken or ham and beans, a respect and grateful attitude to her mother, her sincere love of her wife and kids, and her uncanny ability to keep the spark going.
She started as a firefighter, went to driver, fire Marshal and Deputy Chief. Most chiefs in the state of Georgia know who she is. Chief Harpring wore two very difficult hats for the last several years. She was fire Marshal -covering plan reviews, prevention, inspections, and investigations. And she was also Deputy Chief – handling personnel matters, operations, trucks, training, and public events. Chief also caught a lot of the stuff that fell in the gaps.
Not only will she be missed by her fire family but every city employee that has ever engaged with her will feel a loss to some degree. Stephanie is being hired as the Fire Marshal for the City of Thornton outside of Denver, Colorado. They are excited to have someone who can handle so many issues and saw the value as Stephanie dealt with the City of Decatur’s recent growth. Her last day will be March 20th and she will begin her new job on March 27th. Her family will move after the end of the school year.
Chief Harpring looks forward to hiking, biking, and ‘attempting’ to ski or snowboard. Stephanie will do exceptionally well in her new position. She loves a challenge and the chance to grow. Stephanie will be missed by many but she is no more than a phone call away.”