By Becky Holland
MARSHALL – The public perception of firefighters tends to revolve around the idea that firefighters only come around on “the worst day” of a person’s life.
That image is something that the Marshall Fire fighter’s Association IAFF Local 906 is trying to change. Lt. John Wilson serves as president of the MFFA. “We want to get awareness out there about public safety and let people know that we care,” Wilson said.
The MFFA recently raised funds for a local breast cancer patient – a Marshall 911 dispatcher, helped financially a Waskom fire fighter’s child who needed some specific medical treatment, helped assist the family of a fallen firefighter and they also man resource booths at community festivals.
Wilson said, “Being a part of the association is a benefit for us as firefighters. The association gives us a united voice with administration, city management and with the public.”
According to Wilson, the group tends to have quarterly events. The membership is growing.
Wilson is proud of the Marshall Fire Department. “Whomever had the foresight to make sure that we had a fire rescue division and EMS should be commended,” he said. “Most communities our size don’t have what we have.”
With the upcoming comprehensive employee compensation and benefit study that the City of Marshall will be doing, Wilson believes that the those doing the study shouldn’t compare Marshall Fire Department to other cities the size of Marshall. “They don’t have the same things we do – instead of looking at the city, one should look at the department and what the department offers.”
Part of Wilson’s goals with the MFFA is to continue to be a resource on public safety issues for the community. One idea he hopes to present soon are medical cards for seniors. “The cards would have pertinent information about the individual – health information – that they can put on the refrigerator or somewhere, so if we are called in, we can look at the card and we know what we are dealing with, and will help us as firefighters and EMS to do our jobs better,” Wilson said.
“Though we are the fire fighter’s association, we are a support for the MFD and firefighters. We are a separate entity,” Wilson said.
For more information about the Marshall Firefighter’s Association IAFF Local 906, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Marshall Fire Department at 903.935.4580 and leave a message for Wilson.