Police Chief Lueders and Fire Chief Aviles will lead lighting ceremony at Light-Up! Night
Since 2003, a part of the tradition of Light-Up! Night has been naming those who will actually “flip the switch” that turns on the lights that kick off the annual Nights of Lights. This week St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver continued that tradition when she identified the two people who will launch the holiday tradition, now in its 23rd year.
“With Hurricane Matthew still on the minds of many in our community, I am proud to announce that I have asked two people who represent our ‘home guard’ that served us all so well before, during and after the storm to kick off this year’s Nights of Lights,” said Shaver. “They are the leadership of the St. Augustine Police and Fire Departments represented by Police Chief Loran Lueders and Fire Chief Carlos Aviles.”
While in the past one person would be selected to light the city’s tree and another to light the city, this year Mayor Shaver asked that the two Chiefs together light the tree and then again, being joined by the City Commission, light the city.
Police Chief Lueders, who will retire at the end of November after 35 years with the department, began his law enforcement career with the St Augustine Police Department in November 1981. Initially, Lueders served as a patrol officer and then as detective. In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant, then lieutenant in 1997, and in 2000 to the rank of Assistant Chief of Police. He was named Chief of Police in November 2004.
Fire Chief Aviles, a member of the St. Augustine Fire Department since 2005, was promoted to chief on September 1 of this year having earned the rank of Captain in 2013. The position of fire chief also carries the responsibilities of being the city’s emergency management coordinator manager and during his brief tenure as head of the department, Aviles dealt with the near-hit of Hurricane Hermine and the disaster resulting from Hurricane Matthew.
“St. Augustine is a city that truly embraces traditions, and we have many, some a lot older than others, Light-Up! Night being among the youngest ones embraced by the community,” said Shaver. “As the city’s elected leaders, members of the City Commission have a commitment to maintain a quality of life for all of our residents and foremost among those is the commitment to maintain public safety. I know the entire Commission will be proud to stand with these two public servants as we continue the tradition of the Nights of Lights.”
Others members of the City Commission are Vice Mayor Roxanne Horvath, Commissioner Leanna Freeman, Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline and Commissioner Todd Neville.
Light-Up! Night is November 19 with the lighting ceremony scheduled for 6:30pm in the Plaza de la Constitutión.