Current Volunteers

Christie Jones

Christie Jones

Volunteer Firefighter

with Dorchester County Fire Rescue

Several years ago I was talking to a young boy who was sitting on the diamond plate tail board of a big red fire tuck, his little legs dangling well above the bay

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Christie Jones

Christie Jones

Volunteer Firefighter

with Dorchester County Fire Rescue

Several years ago I was talking to a young boy who was sitting on the diamond plate tail board of a big red fire tuck, his little legs dangling well above the bay floor. He very seriously explained to me that this was his Daddy’s fire truck and that his Daddy was a Fireman, and he was a Fireboy. He then asked me “Are you a Firegirl?”

I think about that little boy’s question when the pager goes off in the middle of the night, when I am tired and the air pack on my back cuts into my shoulders and when a fire truck draped in black leads a procession to the final call of a firefighter. I also think about it when I feel the pride when my department helps the community, when we get a good stop on a fire, when the patient is finally extricated from the twisted metal of their vehicle, and when one of my “brothers” excels at training.

Being a female Volunteer Firefighter is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. The rewards of the job are many. I have become part of a family built on mutual goals, shared experience and a trust that is hard to find in such a diverse group of people. Many women do not see the incredible opportunity to be a part of this group, and they are missing out. I have been approached by elderly ladies that were astounded and gratified to see me in my gear, knowing that the world has changed and that the contributions of all people are being appreciated. I have had the opportunity to work with dedicated professionals that put the safety of the community as their highest priority. These people are paid and volunteer, but we all are professional firefighters, no matter our status.

The struggles of the life of a volunteer can be a challenge. The middle of the night calls, strange hours, and the impact of the human loss that we encounter makes the job difficult and stressful. Employers don’t always sympathize when you come dragging into work, bleary eyed from a night fighting fire. Loved ones can become resentful of the time away from home, not understanding the need to be on scene when your fellow fire fighters are in danger. These struggles do not keep the dedicated away, they only present a challenge to balance all the aspects of a life that is a result of answering that little boy’s question. Yes I am a Firegirl.

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Daniel Adams

Daniel Adams

Volunteer Firefighter

with Dorchester County Fire Rescue

I’ve been a volunteer firefighter since I was 17. My dream as a young boy was to have a career being a firefighter, and I figured volunteering would allow for

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Daniel Adams

Daniel Adams

Volunteer Firefighter

with Dorchester County Fire Rescue

I’ve been a volunteer firefighter since I was 17. My dream as a young boy was to have a career being a firefighter, and I figured volunteering would allow for that dream to become a reality. I started my career on January 8, 2013. I was there for my first 24 hour shift and I couldn’t have been happier. Thinking back to all the hours of volunteering and the dedication put into training to get me where I was, I knew I couldn’t just quit because I got my job.

Volunteering has done so much for me. It’s sent me through the Fire Academy, taught me how to drive a fire truck so that I could get my class E license, and taught me everything I know today. Being a member of this community, I know that people would help me out if I was ever in need. Volunteering is my way of doing the same. Every time we get a call, it’s a chance for me to help another person or family in my community. Being a volunteer fireman has given me the opportunity to meet more people and has allowed me to make close friends. I have become part of the greatest brotherhood there ever was.

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Jack Kirlin

Jack Kirlin

Dorchester County Fire Rescue Ridgeville District Chief

I joined in the spring of 1991. I had just started working full time at an industrial facility and had just started out on my own. I had friends in the department and a cousin who was going to join also. I

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Jack Kirlin

Jack Kirlin

Dorchester County Fire Rescue Ridgeville District Chief

I joined in the spring of 1991. I had just started working full time at an industrial facility and had just started out on my own. I had friends in the department and a cousin who was going to join also. I grew up in the Ridgeville area and was living in Summerville at the time. I was engaged to be married and my plans were to be moved back to the Ridgeville area within the year. Chief Cummings decided to give me a chance. Growing up in Ridgeville and finally being a responsible adult, I felt the calling to help out my town by joining the department. I went through the training to be interior certified and a few other courses within the first year or so. That was difficult with my job and working different shifts. I was married during that time and made a lot of sacrifices to be able to become interior certified. My job at the time was considerate enough to let me take non-paid time off to attend some of the classes. I was able to juggle my job, time with my wife, and time in the department until my daughter was born in the fall of 1998.

By January 1st, 1999, I left the department to help my wife (who worked full time also) to raise our daughter. After a couple of years, when life got to be more routine, I was able to rejoin the department in the summer of 2001. During the next years, we saw the department membership decline and grow again. In August of 2012, my Fire Chief and longtime mentor/friend passed away. This left me in charge of the fire department until we went county wide. During this time it was like working two full-time jobs, with calls on top of that. I very rarely saw my family during the week. I was committed to finishing out the department for the transfer to countywide, but was sincerely thinking of walking away from the fire service once we went countywide. This was mainly because of the stress level of being responsible for every member of my department and dealing with a demanding job. After getting to know our new command staff, seeing where we were heading, and the close bond that our district was able to keep during the transformation into countywide, I gained a new found joy in the fire service. Over this last year, I really have enjoyed helping other districts now that we are all one department. I made new friends that I am proud to call brothers.

So what does it all mean to me? It starts with a calling that I could not walk away from. We all have a calling that we are supposed to do and this is how I fulfill that calling. I am led to help my community and neighbors.

A lot of sacrifices were made over the years. Sometimes my fulltime industrial job suffered because of late night calls or classes during work time where I had to get someone to cover my shift. I’ve found that management are often not as supportive of volunteers as they were in the past. There have been periods when time with my family has suffered due to the full commitment that is involved with being a volunteer firefighter. This happens especially when there are calls without enough manpower. It is hard for me not to respond knowing that someone is in need.

One of the hardest parts about being a firefighter is seeing things at scenes that are tough to get out of your thoughts. That is where the strong brotherhood comes in when you can talk and help each other deal with these life changing events that happen. You can’t always save everybody, but with strong training and hard work, you just live with knowing you did your best and save the ones you can.

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Butch Price

Butch Price

Volunteer Company Commander with the Newberry City Fire Department

and chief at Friendly Volunteer Fire Department

I joined the City of Newberry as a volunteer firefighter in 1987. I wanted to serve and help people in need. For me, the most exciting thing about being a volunteer firefighter

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Butch Price

Butch Price

Volunteer Company Commander

with the Newberry City Fire Department

I joined the City of Newberry as a volunteer firefighter in 1987. I wanted to serve and help people in need. For me, the most exciting thing about being a volunteer firefighter is that I am helping my community. I’m not a volunteer for the glory or the thank yous. I love to help people and volunteer my time to the community.

Volunteers do a number of things besides firefighting. We do community activities around the city such as the Fourth of July and Oktoberfest. We put together Christmas baskets for the needy. We also help out at the burn center for children by organizing a golf tournament to raise money.

A great volunteer loves firefighting. They put their heart and soul into it. If they don’t, they’re not going to make it. It takes a lot of dedication, long hours, and a lot of training that is provided by the state of South Carolina and the county to be a volunteer firefighter.

What we desperately need now are more volunteers and to retain the volunteers that we currently have. The reason that we’re losing volunteers is primarily because jobs have changed over the years. Volunteers aren’t able to get off their jobs and commit to the fire service like they used to. We need people and we need them desperately.

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Austin Pollock

Austin Pollard

Explorer with the Newberry City Fire Department

and member at Friendly Volunteer Fire Department

I started going to fires with my dad and my granddad when I was very little. I am currently a fourth generation firefighter, so you could say that firefighting is in my blood. When I was five and six years old, my dad would take me to scenes in his vehicle and I’d often sit in the fire truck watching everything play out. As I got older, I would get asked to get screwdrivers out of my dad’s toolbox or turn the lights off in the truck. Over the last few years, I’ve become more dedicated and started performing duties on the fire grounds. A couple of months ago, I was officially voted into the Station 1 Fire Department. Since then, I have started attending more training, more business meetings, and have gotten more involved with the station.

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Austin Pollock

Austin Pollard

Explorer with the Newberry City Fire Department

and Member at Friendly Volunteer Fire Department

I started going to fires with my dad and my granddad when I was very little. I am currently a fourth generation firefighter, so you could say that firefighting is in my blood. When I was five and six years old, my dad would take me to scenes in his vehicle and I’d often sit in the fire truck watching everything play out. As I got older, I would get asked to get screwdrivers out of my dad’s toolbox or turn the lights off in the truck. Over the last few years, I’ve become more dedicated and started performing duties on the fire grounds. A couple of months ago, I was officially voted into the Station 1 Fire Department. Since then, I have started attending more training, more business meetings, and have gotten more involved with the station.

The best part about being part of the Explorer Program is that I can help people. I love serving my community. Despite the late night calls, I love the thrill of fighting fires and helping people.

A lot of people choose to get involved in their communities through Explorer Programs. They are able to get to know the equipment as well as other firefighters. It’s a great way to get training and get a head start on becoming a firefighter. When you become of-age at 18, you are then able to join a fire department full-time and get even more training.

More than likely you can find someone you know or a friend of a friend who is a volunteer or career firefighter. Those are the people who you want to talk to about volunteering. You have to get involved and take the first step, asking questions about where you can fit in.

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Ben Bowers

Ben Bowers

Senior Engineer

with the Newberry Fire Department

I’ve been working with the department for ten years. I started as an Explorer when I was in high school and as soon as I turned 18 I put in an application to become a volunteer. I did that until I

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Ben Bowers

Ben Bowers

Senior Engineer

with the Newberry Fire Department

I’ve been working with the department for ten years. I started as an Explorer when I was in high school and as soon as I turned 18 I put in an application to become a volunteer. I did that until I graduated high school, then I was fortunate enough to be offered a job here after I graduated.

Growing up, I always had an interest in the merchant services. My goal was to become a policeman and be a volunteer firefighter at the same time. When I became involved with the Explorer Program on a regular basis my senior year of high school and started getting involved with the fire department, it was something I fell in love with. I immediately took being a police officer off of my goal list and became a firefighter.

Being involved with the Newberry Fire Department and the camaraderie amongst the guys I felt like I was part of a brotherhood. I know we call it a “brotherhood,” but we welcome anyone and everyone into the fire service family. There is a bond and a trust that you’re going to get with the people that you serve with at the fire department. Just this morning, my vehicle wouldn’t start up and I called my captain on shift. He offered to come 20 minutes out of his way to come help me if I needed it. That commitment to helping each other is something you’re going to get when you come into the fire service. That translates over to your commitment to serve the community.

In the state of South Carolina, the majority of our firefighters are volunteers. We rely heavily on them. We know that it takes a lot of time and effort to volunteer, but the rewards you get from that are unreal. The satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped somebody and when you see the look on their face makes the late nights and hard work worth it.

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Andrew Morris

Andrew Morris

Engineer with the Newberry City Fire Department

and Explorer Post Advisor

I’ve been a full-time firefighter for seven years now. Before that, I was a volunteer firefighter. As a volunteer firefighter, I quickly realized that I wanted to do this full-time. I didn’t necessarily want to be a professional, I just knew that that’s what I wanted to do. I think the fire service can be summed up in one word and that’s “people.” These people aren’t only the guys that you work with, but they are also the people you’re serving. There’s no higher honor than to be able to be the person that people are looking for whenever something is going wrong.

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Andrew Morris

Andrew Morris

Engineer with the Newberry City Fire Department

and Explorer Post Advisor

I’ve been a full-time firefighter for seven years now. Before that, I was a volunteer firefighter. As a volunteer firefighter, I quickly realized that I wanted to do this full-time. I didn’t necessarily want to be a professional, I just knew that that’s what I wanted to do. I think the fire service can be summed up in one word and that’s “people.” These people aren’t only the guys that you work with, but they are also the people you’re serving. There’s no higher honor than to be able to be the person that people are looking for whenever something is going wrong.

I’ve recently had the experience of being part of our Explorer Program. It’s been amazing to watch kids who have maybe had a past in the fire service or have had family in the fire service or even ones who have no experience at all want to get involved. They just get plugged in and they often find out that they love it and they have a passion for it.

The fire service has come full circle for me as I think it has for most people. You generally begin at a lower level and work yourself up to a volunteer or career firefighter. You get that experience under your belt, then you then get the chance to pass that knowledge and experience on to someone else. That is another one of the most rewarding parts of this career.

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Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Volunteer Company Commander with the Newberry City Fire Department

and Honor Guard team member

I’ve been in the fire service since 2003. My father served here at the City of Newberry for 27 years. It’s been a benefit to me to be able to run calls inside our town and our county and give back to citizens. That person that you’re running the call for may be someone that you know well or someone you’ve never met, but weeks down the road you’ll see them again and they remember you. They come up to you and tell you how much it meant that you had been there to help them.

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Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson

Volunteer Company Commander with the Newberry City Fire Department

and Honor Guard team member

I’ve been in the fire service since 2003. My father served here at the City of Newberry for 27 years. It’s been a benefit to me to be able to run calls inside our town and our county and give back to citizens. That person that you’re running the call for may be someone that you know well or someone you’ve never met, but weeks down the road you’ll see them again and they remember you. They come up to you and tell you how much it meant that you had been there to help them.

When you come into the department, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not just a job. It’s a family. We’re there from the beginning to the end and most of the time it’s even beyond that. It’s because of that family atmosphere and camaraderie that people volunteer and continue to volunteer.

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Jaron Livingston

Jaron Livingston

Volunteer Firefighter

with Westminster Volunteer Fire Department in Oconee County

I volunteer with the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department because I love helping the community, and I wanted to give back to the people where I live. I have been asked why I run into a burning building, when everyone else is running out; but I didn’t know the answer when I first started. However, I think I do now. It is not because I get to ride in a fire truck or show off to girls, it is because I would help whoever needed it. Just imagine when those firefighters in New York were going to the World Trade Center on September 11. They knew what had to be done, and they paid the price so others could live. I do this for others and not myself. I have been an Explorer since I was 14 and I have been an active volunteer for a year now. I am about to begin Recruit School at the South Carolina Fire Academy where I hope to continue my career as a firefighter.

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Jaron Livingston

Jaron Livingston

Volunteer Firefighter

with Westminster Volunteer Fire Department in Oconee County

I volunteer with the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department because I love helping the community, and I wanted to give back to the people where I live. I have been asked why I run into a burning building, when everyone else is running out; but I didn’t know the answer when I first started. However, I think I do now. It is not because I get to ride in a fire truck or show off to girls, it is because I would help whoever needed it. Just imagine when those firefighters in New York were going to the World Trade Center on September 11. They knew what had to be done, and they paid the price so others could live. I do this for others and not myself. I have been an Explorer since I was 14 and I have been an active volunteer for a year now. I am about to begin Recruit School at the South Carolina Fire Academy where I hope to continue my career as a firefighter.

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Sawyer Gambrell

Sawyer Gambrell

Volunteer Firefighter

with the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Oconee County

Sawyer is a member of the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Oconee County, South Carolina, and a recent graduate of the South Carolina Fire Academy (February 28, 2014). When asked why he volunteers as a firefighter, his reply was: "I volunteer with the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department because I enjoy giving back to my community as they have given so much to me; and I enjoy the adrenaline rush when the tones drop. My fire department did not have a Junior Firefighter program until recently, so I have only been a volunteer since August of 2013; and I recently graduated from the South Carolina Fire Academy which I feel was a great accomplishment. I am very proud to be a volunteer firefighter here in South Carolina."

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Sawyer Gambrell

Sawyer Gambrell

Volunteer Firefighter

with the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Oconee County

Sawyer is a member of the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department in Oconee County, South Carolina, and a recent graduate of the South Carolina Fire Academy (February 28, 2014).

When asked why he volunteers as a firefighter, his reply was:

“I volunteer with the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department because I enjoy giving back to my community as they have given so much to me; and I enjoy the adrenaline rush when the tones drop. My fire department did not have a Junior Firefighter program until recently, so I have only been a volunteer since August of 2013; and I recently graduated from the South Carolina Fire Academy which I feel was a great accomplishment. I am very proud to be a volunteer firefighter here in South Carolina.”

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