His retirement will go into effect June 13.
"After much thought, many sleepless nights and soul searching, I have decided that it is time to enter a new phase in my life. These last 36 years have been an honor for not only me, but my family as well, to serve you and the citizens of Cleveland as a firefighter and fire inspector," said Bishop in a letter addressed to Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell.
During the meeting Cleveland firefighters walked in and lined the boardroom, prepared to send Bishop their well wishes.
Bishop was given a standing ovation and many in attendance had tears in their eyes.
"The leadership, guidance, support and friendship that you have given me have allowed me to be successful in my career. That leadership and positive spirit will surely keep Cleveland a place where we will want to live and raise our families," Bishop continued in his letter.
"I have seen Cleveland and the fire department grow and prosper in ways that as a young man and citizen I could not imagine. I am proud that I have been a small part of that growth, prosperity and environment. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of that. Words cannot express my pride and respect for the fire department, city, and people that I have worked and served with. I will always treasure what we have accomplished together," Bishop wrote in the letter.
Once Nowell was finished reading the letter to the board he said, "You mentioned yesterday that we're up for an award and we'll be first, second, or third this year. The reason we've been first the times we've had and probably will be again this year is because of you and we hope you know that. God bless you and I hope you enjoy your retirement."
Alderman Robert Sanders said, "I want to thank you personally for the years you and I have encountered together. I remember when you told me when I was trying to get on the police department, 'Robert, sometimes you have to stay tough son.' I want to say to whoever takes your place that they have some big shoes to fill. You've done a great job in this community and whenever we called upon you, you were there for the challenge."
Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brent Rogers said, "I can't dignify this with words. Thirty-six years of service Gene has done … most of us in this department today can remember seeing Gene as a young men coming to our schools to talk about fire prevention. He's been a great motivation to us all, a leader to us all, a friend to us all. It's going to be big shoes to fill and he's truly going to be missed. He's a Cleveland treasure."
Bishop said today he had no idea the firefighters would be attending the meeting.
"It was very humbling. I drove up and saw all of the cars thinking 'Lord have mercy I didn't know the board meeting would be that packed.' I saw their vehicles and thought, 'Oh Lord I'm going to get emotional.' I appreciate their support," he said.
As fire inspector, Bishop has been on call for 24 hours a day every single day for the past 36 years. He says he has no major plans for his retirement but looks forward to spending the time relaxed.
"As far as plans, I'll sleep all night long. I'll enjoy all of my Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthday dinners. I've been on call 24 hours for 36 years. I'm just tired," he said.
Bishop will remain fire inspector until June and said, "I am just so proud of Cleveland."
As the firemen left and shook Bishop's hand on their way out, Nowell explained a committee will be put together soon to begin the search for a new fire inspector.