New Albany, Mississippi- New Albany and Union County fire personnel recently attended the annual Mississippi Fire Chief’s/ Firefighter’s Conference in Natchez. Members from several county fire departments, along with city representatives, attended the three-day conference. Two of our own were nominated and elected into the State Associations’ leadership roles:
- Steve Coker, New Albany Fire Chief, East Union Asst. Fire Chief, and Union County Fire Coordinator, was elected to the position of Mississippi Fire Chief’s Association Northeast District Vice President, covering thirteen counties in the northeastern part of the state.
- Mark Whiteside, New Albany Deputy Chief, Mississippi State Fire Academy Adjunct Instructor, and North Haven Vol. Captain, was elected to the position of Mississippi Firefighter’s Association 1st Vice President, covering all 82 counties in the State.
These appointments highlight two important things:
- First, the dedication and commitment of these two individuals and of the 200+ county and city personnel (both paid and volunteer), as well as of the city mayor, the city board, and the county supervisors, to leading local fire service and protection to the next level for years to come.
- Second, the faith, trust, and support that all firefighters in the State have for the leadership of our local fire personnel.
“There are many issues facing the fire service locally and on the state level that will affect our area today, tomorrow, and for years to come. If we don’t stay on top of all legislation affecting our fire services and protection, we could get left behind and find it difficult to staff our departments, keep up adequate training, and maintain safe, adequate trucks and equipment.
“It is such a great honor and privilege to be elected into these positions, and with Chief Coker representing the Fire Chief’s side of the State, we are hoping that we will be able to link these two organizations together to protect our futures as Firefighters, Chiefs, and Fire Departments to protect our Citizens,” Whiteside said.
So what does this mean, not only our local citizens, but also for each and every person throughout the state? Whiteside says, “We will stay heavily involved with legislation on the state level, join forces with other representatives throughout the state, communicate, plan, lobby for, and protect funding for our fire departments.”
Coker’s term is a one year term, and is newly elected. Whiteside’s newly elected position is for two years; he just completed a two-year term as the Mississippi Firefighter’s Association’s Northeast District Vice President.
“We are both excited to be in these positions, we both have the same visions, and views, and we both are very much committed to New Albany and Union County Fire services. You just have to have a love, a passion, and a commitment for it. If you don’t, you are in the wrong position. Volunteers and paid alike, put in so much time, lose a lot of sleep, train, donate time, and prepare themselves for the worst day in some folks’ lives,” Whiteside stated.