Thursday, September 21, 2006
Crane, Autry receive firefighter recognition
By SUE WATSON
Holly Springs career firefighter Rodney Crane and Tommy Autry, chief of Wyatt/Chulahoma Fire Department, were spotlighted by the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce Thursday for outstanding service with their departments.
In presenting Crane the award, Kenny Holbrook, chief of the Holly Springs Fire Department, spoke of the years of experience and training sitting at the tables. Many firefighters and their families were present at the awards luncheon at Annie’s Restaurant.
Holbrook said career firefighters are also plumbers, electricians, carpenters and the like, and that is experience firefighters bring to their jobs along with firefighting skills.
Marshall County Emergency Management Director Hugh Hollowell spoke of the dedication of the county’s volunteer firefighters. In presenting Autry with an award, he said a lot of thought went into the decision because so many were worthy of recognition.
The volunteer firefighters making up the rural fire department crews put their own money into what they do, he said.
“It usually costs them to do what they do, get up in the middle of the night and go, missing birthday parties....,” Hollowell said.
Guest speaker Kenny Jackson, a career fireman and member of the Tenn Task Force 1, presented a slide show of photos taken while his unit was deployed 10 days in rescue at the Pentagon after the September 11, 2001, tragedy.
TENN-TF-1, one of 28 federal rescue teams in the United States, represents the Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas area. The 66-member task force is deployed only by order of the President of the United States to disaster areas which include hurricanes, earthquakes, and terrorist attacks. The teams are ready 24 hours a day and trained by the federal government to operate through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security.
On order to deploy, the task force is equipped to be self-contained for 72 hours, mobilized in a 10-vehicle convoy and carries with it about $4 million in high-tech equipment.
TENN-TF-1 worked search and rescue after the first responders completed initial rescue operations. Jackson said the team went in, stabilized the structure at the Pentagon, and searched for victims buried in the rubble. He said the whole time the task force worked the building shook.
A total of 184 souls lost their lives at the Pentagon blast site, he said. Any personal items found were collected and returned to the victims’ families, he said.
The slide show contained lots of photos of on-the-job rescue work, special moments, and task force members being visited by high level officials including President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The team recovered the remains of the rear axle of the passenger jet and smaller parts of the plane down to 2 X 2-inch size airplane parts.
A Memphis Fire Department employee of 29 years, Lt. of Operations for 10 years, and current Battalion Chief of special operations, Jackson has been a member of the TENN-TF-1 for ten years.
The task force responded to the Pentagon, the space shuttle Columbia disaster, and several hurricane disasters including hurricanes Georges, Ophelia, Dennis and Rita.
Upcoming events on the chamber’s calendar include Business After Hours at Kirkwood September 21, the fourth annual Harvest Fest in downtown Holly Springs October 28 and the annual Christmas Parade December 2.
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