St Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver has continued a holiday tradition by naming Police Chief Loran Lueders and Fire Chief Carlos Aviles to actually “flip the switch” that turns on the lights that kick off the 23rd annual Nights of Lights celebration.
In past years since 2003, one person would be selected to light the city’s Christmas tree and another to light the city. This year, Mayor Shaver asked the two chiefs to perform both ceremonial lightings together. Light-Up! Night is November 19th with the lighting ceremony scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Plaza de la Constitutión.
“I am proud to announce that I have asked two people who served us all so well before, during, and after Hurricane Matthew to kick off this year’s Nights of Lights,” the newly re-elected mayor told Historic City News. “They are the leadership of the St. Augustine Police and Fire Departments represented by Police Chief Lueders and Fire Chief Aviles.”
Lueders will retire at the end of November after 35 years with the department. He 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.
Aviles has been a member of the St. Augustine Fire Department since 2005. He earned the rank of Captain in 2013 and was promoted to chief on September 1 of this year. The position of fire chief also carries the responsibilities of being the city’s emergency management coordinator 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.