Meridian's Fire Department has promoted Capt. Anthony J. Clayton, its first African American battalion chief. Clayton said the promotion has nothing to do with his race.
"There's nothing significant in this except for study hard, work hard, go to school and get the breaks," said Clayton. "On a moment's notice, I have to be able to supervise 34 fire fighters on "A" shift. I've also got to answer to Chief Partridge, to the mayor, to the CEO, to the citizens of the city."
Fire Chief Bunky Partridge said Clayton's promotion was simply because he is the best man.
"Mr. Clayton has worked hard through his career," said Partridge. "He's attended all the educational classes he could. Attended college here. He's also attended every school he could attended in his 20 years here. He was the right man for the position."
Two new captains were appointed. One is Douglas Keith Terry. "It's something I've been working for ever since I've been at the fire department," said Terry. "I've been here 11 years. It's something I've worked for since I came here and it's one of the steps I had to go through to move on up the change of command to eventually become a battalion chief in the fire department."
Also promoted to captain was Jeremy William Holdiness.
"Since the day I started I had the privilege of working with some of the older captains before they retired," said Holdiness, "and I really respected them and it was one of my goals when I first came here was to do what they were."
The appointments will go into effect Nov. 13.