First Responders: Marion Fire Chief Ray Cantrell

Updated: Aug. 15, 2021 at 5:41 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - In our latest First Responders we meet the chief of Marion Fire Department.

Ray Cantrell is the chief of the Marion Volunteer Fire Department. He started his career of helping after a storm in Dalewood.

“In the 90s they had a tornado come through in Dalewood. I was up there so I kind of started helping the fire department up there and then joined the fire department up there. I got all my certifications up there and then I moved to Marion here,” Cantrell said.

Since 2003, Cantrell has been a member of the Marion Fire Department. He has been chief two different times and currently serves as the chief.

Being on the front line of helping others comes with tough times. Cantrell said he hates losing. He said they always work so hard to do everything possible to save a life and when it doesn’t work, it takes a toll. He said it’s the same way with fires.

“Whenever you go out to one of these house fires and the house is fully involved and there’s nothing you can do. We can only do what we call surround and protect. Those things are kind of hard,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell said it’s a unique experience helping others. He says it makes his day when someone recognizes him because he was helping.

“Whenever you see them in public you can see the expression on their face that they know you but they don’t know you. That’s what gets me,” Cantrell explained. “We just have a good time serving the community.”

Cantrell’s family is very supportive. His wife has also been a first responder for about nine years.

“She goes out with me sometimes. She prefers to go to wrecks. She’s not a firefighter, but she is an EMR,” Cantrell said.

There’s a need for volunteers in just about all volunteer fire departments. Cantrell encourages anyone that’s interested to let them know.

“Come by and talk to us. We will be more than happy to talk with you and if you want to join our fire department, then we will get you in,” Cantrell said.

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