Fel­low­ship, Friends Build Strong Bond At Noel Fire De­part­ment

McDonald County Press - - PROTECT & SERVE - Sally Car­roll scar­[email protected]

Friends and com­rades serv­ing side by side cre­ates a spe­cial fel­low­ship.

It’s that team­work that strength­ens the bonds at the Noel Fire De­part­ment.

Fire­fight­ing with guys who have each other’s backs is spe­cial be­cause of “the brother­hood we de­velop,” said se­nior fire­fighter Cody Miller.

Chief Bran­don Bar­rett, who has served in that ca­pac­ity since 2001, said the de­part­ment is on track to take in the same num­ber of calls as last year.

From wrecks, med­i­cal calls and pub­lic as­sists, to struc­ture and brush fires, the fire de­part­ment stays fully trained to help out the com­mu­nity.

Miller said the de­part­ment trains at least twice a month. Ex­tra train­ing some­times takes place on the week­end. Bar­rett ex­plains that to main­tain the city’s ISO rat­ing, each fire­fighter is re­quired to train 70 hours a year.

The de­part­ment also pro­vides mu­tual aid for any McDon­ald County agency. The de­part­ment has re­sponded to calls in ar­eas that in­clude Sul­phur Springs to as far across the county as White Rock.

Bar­rett moved back to the area 17 years ago. At that time, Noel was in need of a fire chief, and he was asked to take a test.

He passed and has served as fire chief ever since.

Bar­rett also works full­time as a McDon­ald County Sher­iff’s Of­fice lieu­tenant. He knows that time is some­times at a pre­mium when it comes to serv­ing oth­ers and bal­anc­ing that with fam­ily and friends.

Fire­fighter Tony Sider­av­age finds vol­un­teer­ing worth­while be­cause the de­part­ment serves the com­mu­nity in a lot of dif­fer­ent ways.

“Know­ing that we make a dif­fer­ence,” mo­ti­vates Sider­av­age to stay on the staff.

As chief, Bar­rett says one of the chal­lenges is find­ing vol­un­teers. At present, he has 13 fire­fight­ers on the ros­ter, when he ac­tu­ally should have 25.

“These guys work hard,” Bar­rett said. “To give up their free time, I ap­plaud them for it.”

So why give up time and be away from fam­ily and friends to per­form a job with­out be­ing paid?

“Fire picked us; we didn’t pick it,” said Fire­fighter Eric Ben­nett.

Miller ac­knowl­edges that some­times the call to serve oth­ers is just too loud to ig­nore.

“If we don’t serve, who will?”

SALLY CAR­ROLL/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

The brother­hood at the Noel Fire De­part­ment keeps vol­un­teers mo­ti­vated to help each other and the com­mu­nity. The crew in­cludes Blake Bar­rett (left), Tony Sider­av­age, An­thony Ortega, Eric Ben­nett, Cap­tain Shain Scott, Ray Powell, Cody Miller, Jeff White­hill and Michael Pat­ton. Not pic­tured is Chief Bran­don Bar­rett.

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