This afternoon I met with Fire Chief Thomas Walker. Mr. Walker is from Iuka, MS but moved to Tupelo in 1998 to be an arson investigator for the Tishomingo Co Sheriff Department. He was an investigator for 6-7 years before being promoted to Fire Chief. Mr. Walker fell in love with the job of fire fighter at the age of 10. When he was old enough he became a volunteer and the rest is history.
He advises anyone looking to pursue this career to take 2 years of community college out of HS. Sign up for public service and public safety classes. Also get your EMT license. Apply for any and all departments. Don’t be picky but get your foot in the door. You have to start somewhere. He says that Columbia Southern has firefighting degrees that you can get online.
The Tupelo Fire Departments motto is “We Help People.” This is what Mr. Walker loves about his job. He knows that firefighters see people on their worst day. It is their job to help them get through this day. Part of the departments core training is teaching value and compassion to be that shoulder someone needs. Mr. Walker says that “God is in complete control and we are here to play a small part.”
Mr. Walker loves Tupelo for their opportunities and the people. His children have grown up here and excelled in school and sports. He says that when you live in Tupelo that there is no denying the Tupelo Spirit. It will inspire you all the time.
He loves his team and loves how hard they work. They work in 24 hour shifts and are constantly working on maintenance, cleaning hoses, training or running calls. Once their daily duties are done, then they can rest. I have seen in their down time they came a pretty mean grill. There are a total of 7 fire houses in Tupelo and they are all full of heroes.