Through the years the public service entity has had several name changes, but the mission is the same.
BCFR began its mission as the Lee Atchley Memorial Rescue Squad. That was long ago after community members saw the need. It was a primitive unit of people who were essentially responsible for a variety of technical services such as water rescue and searches for missing people.
The evolution of the service has been phenomenal, according to Chief Troy Spence.
“With a growing community and the addition of three new fire stations, we need more volunteers who want to step up and become professionals in a variety of our technical skills operations,” Spence said.
One of the oldest specialized volunteers recently passed away.
For more than 50 years, Ira Cox gave service in crash extrication and many other areas of rescue and response.
Today’s generation begins with volunteers such as C.J. Davis, who is now a full-time member of BCFR.
Davis has been a member of BCFR since 1997, beginning in the Explorer program when he was only 12 years old.
“I started the rescue Explorers program in 1997 not really knowing much about what I was getting into. It didn't take me long to realize that I would be a part of the Bradley County rescue family for life,” said Davis.
“I trained hard and took things seriously because I wanted to be the best, but also had a lot of fun,” he added.
Davis, like Cox, reached a milestone in his chosen career, when he became a full-time employee of BCFR.
Cox was strictly a volunteer but the evolution of the service now encompasses paid firefighters as well.
According to Spence, specialized areas of need for new Explorers-in-training and volunteers include extrication, swift water, confined space rescue, firefighting, HazMat response, high-angle rescue, water rescue and many others.
“Being a member of BCFR through volunteering can be an adventure, as well as a great way to learn and grow, all while helping your community,” Spence said.
“The Explorer program was a great thing for me as well as many others who have been a part of it,” Davis said.
Davis said his volunteering and the subsequent training through Explorers and Advanced Rescue prepared him for his career in the firefighting/rescue business.
“Volunteering also teaches about a brotherhood. That’s one of the most important things,” Davis said.
“I still love BCFR as much as I did 15 years ago. I plan on serving this great community and department until I retire,” he added.
To learn more about volunteering with BCFR, visit www.bradleyco.net and click on the Bradley County Fire link or call 728-7293.