By Tia Lynn Ivey
Seven volunteer firefighters sacrificed most of their Thanksgiving holiday to help combat the out-of-control wild fires spreading across North Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Between Nov. 21-28, two teams of local firefighters were dispatched to Clayton, Georgia with a brush truck to assist with the wild fire crisis sweeping across the region. The seven firefighters were Rusty Angel, David Christ, Garrett Stinchcomb, Jacob Schlipf, Cory Eaton, Drew Owens, and Lee Smith.
The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) publicly recognized their service at the December 6 regular meeting.
“I would like to publicly thank all of them and the Fire Chief Jeff Stone for coordinating this. It just shows the caliber of volunteers that we have here in Morgan County,” said Interim County Manager Mark Williams.
The firefighters were stationed in Clayton first, and then sent from there to various destinations plagued by wild fires in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
“I really appreciate those guys going up there,” said Commissioner Andy Ainslie. “They were away from their families and put their lives in danger and they gave up their Thanksgiving holiday. We cannot thank them enough for their service.”
“This is a good reflection upon our county to have these kind of volunteers,” said Commissioner Ellen Warren.
Morgan County Fire Chief Jeff Stone expected The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to request more help from Morgan County firefighters after the wild fires tragically swept through Gatlinburg, Tennessee. But the rainstorms that followed shortly after has quelled much of the fires.
“Because of the rainfall, we now have over an 80 percent containment rate of the wild fires,” reported Stone to the BOC on Tuesday.
“We have a great group of volunteers in Morgan County,” said Stone.