LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - For the past 38 years our latest First Responder has been responding to fires. Daryl Mathews is currently with the Long Creek Fire Department and can't stress enough about the need for more volunteers.
“It’s pretty tough, but I enjoy it. I always manage to get it done,” Mathews says.
Daryl Mathews started fighting fires in the town of Marion in 1981. He eventually made his way to the Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
“It’s just something that comes from the heart and wanting to serve your community,” Mathews says.
Mathews says his desire to be a firefighter began when he was a little kid eating breakfast.
“They had a box top on a cereal box and you could order a little firetruck. That’s where it all started,” Mathews says.
Mathews says the job comes with a variety of situations and that can be an adrenaline rush.
“It’s you against the fire, so to speak. It’s a challenge. Nothing is ever the same when you go out. It’s a different situation that we may face,” Mathews says.
Mathews says he has always had the support of his family over the years.
“My wife knew I was a firefighter at heart when we first met. She’s always supported me. She also comes down here and helps out. It’s a family thing. We bring our family down here,” Mathews says.
Mathews says he can’t stress enough how many volunteer firefighters Lauderdale County is in need of. He says they have been seeing a decrease in the amount of younger people signing up with local departments. He wants to encourage people to join.
“Maybe there is someone out there that has a career and think they have this in their heart and would enjoy it. Come on down. Try it out,” Mathews says.
Mathews retired from being a mail carrier and says he now spends more time at the Long Creek Fire Department, something he says he will continue.
“The Lord has blessed me as far as being physically able to do the things. Somebody has to get the truck there and run the pump, you know,” Mathews 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.