Fellowship, Friends Build Strong Bond At Noel Fire Department
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?”
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.