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Fire marshal gives back to community at FiftyForward


jeff Pender said driving members of the FiftyForward Martin Center on field trips is his joy.
jeff Pender said driving members of the FiftyForward Martin Center on field trips is his joy.(WSMV)
Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 6:30 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - He may be a bit over-qualified, but Fire Marshal Jeff Pender said driving members of the FiftyForward Martin Center on field trips is his joy.

“I feel there’s a calling on my life to serve, to love on people,” Pender said. “The best time to do that is when people are having the worst day of their life.”

For eight years, the veteran firefighter, EMT, husband and father of three has spent his free time volunteering with the 50-plus crowd at the Brentwood community center, driving them to art fairs, car shows and candle-making.

“They’re a fund group of people, lived a lot of life,” Pender said. “Their stories are good to hear.”

Pender went to college to be a pastor, and later owned and operated a Chick-Fil-A.

When a firefighter neighbor took him on a ride-along, he was hooked – on both ladders and helping people.

“They’re just so thankful. They fill your tank so you can keep going,” Pender said. “People need to be encouraged there’s something out there better than what’s here on earth.”

The FiftyForward Martin Center sits on five acres in Brentwood, a space created for connection and conversation, exercise and art classes, book clubs and board games. Through seven locations and a variety of programs in Davidson and Williamson counties, the organization provides enrichment opportunities for adults 50 and older to remain engaged in living their lives to the fullest.

“I’d encourage anyone who’s 50 or older to join us on a trip,” Pender said.

Click to learn more about FiftyForward.

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