“You don’t leave people you really like and want to succeed when they really need you,” Stock said of his decision to stay that fateful afternoon, when 150 Weed residents lost their homes.

On the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, Weed’s city manager Ron Stock returned from lunch and sat down at his computer to write a letter of resignation. His wife, Pam, had applied for and landed a job in Florida, and Stock was ready to move on.

He printed the letter just before Debbie Salvestrin, the then-city clerk, came into his office and asked if he’d seen the fire.

“What fire?” Stock replied.

He said he walked out to Centennial Plaza and watched what was soon dubbed the Boles Fire scorch a nearby hillside. Then he moved to the city hall parking lot and stood next to Salvestrin as they helplessly watched her home go up in flames.

“I went inside and tore up my letter of resignation,” said Stock, who was honored Friday with a plaque recognizing his accomplishments and a gathering to celebrate his retirement after eight years serving the City of Weed.

“You don’t leave people you really like and want to succeed when they really need you,” Stock said of his decision to stay that fateful afternoon, when 150 Weed residents lost their homes.

The Boles Fire was later determined to be started by Ronald Beau Marshall, who pled guilty in 2015 to charges of recklessly causing a fire with the enhancement of causing multiple inhabited structures to burn. He was sentenced to three years in prison and was released in 2016.

At Friday’s celebration, Stock said the Weed community successfully worked to rebuild the city and has since “positioned themselves to be successful in the future.”

After a two-week vacation to Florida to catch some Minnesota Twins spring training games at Fort Myers, Stock plans to return to Weed, which he said “will remain my home for the rest of my life.”

Stock will be replaced by newly hired city manager Tim Rundel, most recently the city manager in Durant, Oklahoma. His tentative start date is March 23.

“You’ve selected someone with good capabilities,” said Stock. “I’ll be cheerleading ... and hoping you do well.”

Weed city councilor Ken Palfini recounted the accomplishments the city made under Stock’s leadership, from more than a dozen successful financial audits; an improvement in the city’s software that has made online payments possible; the installation of solar panels for city buildings; and passing a .25% sales tax that supports the city’s library, senior services and public safety efforts.

The city also passed cannabis tax ordinances and attracted an “upscale” marijuana dispensary that “promotes a positive image of our downtown area.”

“Who would have thought we’d be saying that?” Palfini joked, adding that revitalization of the downtown area is something he believes will be next on the city’s list of goals.

Palfini pointed to Stock’s work in helping Weed recovery from the Boles Fire. He obtained grants for debris removal and new infrastructure, including two water tanks and a well.

Streetlights, sidewalks and curbs were installed in Angel Valley and the city has maintained a “pro-growth, pro-business” attitude that attracted Grocery Outlet, Dollar General, Starbucks and Love’s Truck Stop to South Weed. Stock helped Weed Pride raise funds to complete Heritage Plaza and the community stage.

Stock has “waged the battle” for the city to obtain their own water source, said Palfini. Eminent domain proceedings are underway in pursuit of access to Beaughan Springs.

The city partnered with the Ford Family Foundation and Cal Poly to create a City Plan as well as a pedestrian bike plan, which hasn’t been implemented yet, but “it’s there,” said Palfini.

Over the past two years, the city has seen a lot of changes, said Palfini. There’s a new fire chief and assistant fire chief, a new city clerk, finance director, building inspector and police chief.

“There’s been a lot of movement in our city,” said Palfini. “Once we get our new leadership, I guess we’ll take another journey.”