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Firefighters honored for service

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POSTED: November 1, 2007 5:00 a.m.
The week of Oct. 7-13 was recognized as National Fire Prevention Week.
Each day, thousands of fires occur in this country, and it takes the dedication of the many men and women who make up the various fire departments to tackle these fires and prevent loss of life.
Most of the firefighters who respond to these fires are volunteers. Because of the love they have for their communities, they spend countless hours helping to extinguish fires and responding to other emergency type situations.
Liberty County is proud of its various fire departments throughout the community. The firefighters who make up these departments hail from varied background. They have formed a bond and consider themselves to be one big family.
The Midway Fire Department, under the leadership of Fire Chief Terrell Chipp, makes about three to five runs on a daily basis. Whenever there is a wreck, they also respond along with other first responders.
Chipp has been a firefighter since 1981 and has served as fire chief for about 14 years. In addition to his job as fire chief, he is the supervisor of Midway Public Works. He has worked with Public Works since 1982.
The Midway Fire Department has 10 members.
“Jeff Bowens is the assistant fire chief and Trey Johnson is the fire captain. All of our members are volunteers. We have one female and nine male firefighters. The youngest member is 18 years old, while the oldest is in his 50s,” Chipp said.
He’s particularly proud that the Midway Fire Department has improved from a class 9 ISO rating to a class 5. The rating is based on the readiness of the fire department.
“A Class 5 rating results in a reduction in homeowners’ insurance in the Midway area,” Chipp said.
His department serves the Midway and Homestown areas, and the area that extends nearly to the Riceboro city limits. The department also assists other surrounding fire departments during emergency situations.  
Members of the department meet from 7-9 p.m. every Tuesday for training.
Chipp said they are always looking for more volunteers to join the department. New firefighters will have to undergo the basic firefighting course.  
“Firefighters used to go to Forsyth, Ga., for this training, but we now have people qualified to teach. James Ashdown who serves as the fire coordinator for the county is a good instructor,” Chipp said.   
Midway’s firefighters are also involved in various community activities.
“We go to the schools and teach fire prevention. The department also has an open house so the community can come and see some of the things we are doing. We also have fundraisers to help purchase equipment and gears,” Chipp said.
The Midway Fire Department has jars in various stores to help raise money to buy personalized jackets as a Christmas presents for the firefighters.
“We participate in the Christmas Parade, MLK Parade and parades at Fort Stewart.”
“My goals include getting full-time personnel to work at the department. With full-time personnel, it will lower our rating category even more. I also would like to get another fire station,” Chipp said. “We are a small department, but the firefighters are very good. We were awarded a grant last year through the Forestry Division and bought equipment for the truck.”
 

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