MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - In First Responders, we head back to NAS Meridian to meet the assistant fire chief. Bryant Gibson has been working at NAS for 28 years and says his job takes true dedication.
“I sought out career firefighting and figured I might enjoy it,” Gibson says.
Bryant Gibson has been serving as a firefighter at NAS Meridian nearly three decades.
Gibson says a friend got him into volunteer firefighting at Clarkdale in the mid-80s. He says his job then and now are very different. He says at NAS you are dealing with aircraft and inflight emergencies. Just a couple of months ago, the department responded to the report of a plane down.
“When we responded out of the station, the aircraft had already crashed on the deck. We got there pretty quick. The pilots got out safely. We tended to them and got the fire put out. That’s what we like to see, nobody hurt and the fire out,” Gibson says.
Gibson says the NAS Fire crew also offer mutual aid for structure fires outside of the base. In January, they responded to the tornado that struck near NAS Meridian.
“If we get called and the command releases us to go, we go. It’s just a phone call to command,” Gibson explains.
Gibson has two children, one of which is a firefighter at Key Field. He says his family supports him.
“I have a loving wife. She puts up with a lot. 28 years of me being gone half the time. She’s a jewel,” Gibson says.
Gibson’s father worked in public works at NAS for many years. For a few years, both worked there at the same time before his father retired. Gibson says he plans on retiring in the next few years.
"It's a young man's game. We have to retire at 57. Firefighting is really for the younger men," Gibson says.
To stay up to date with our First Responders series tune in every Sunday night for Newscenter 11 at 10:00 p.m. and on Good Morning Meridian on Monday mornings.