I had just made Lieutenant in the Fire Department my dad worked for. Then, the rank structure was Private, Lieutenant and then Captain. Previously, I had two of the best assignments a young fireman could have. I spent a few years assigned to Ladder #2-A but actually drove the “District” (now called Battalion) Chief for the North side of the City. We ran every fire on the North and most of em on the South side of the tracks. We stayed busy. I left the Chief to fill a spot at Engine #5 (then one of the 2 busiest Engine companies in the City). Again, we seen a lot of work. I only wish that I actually knew back then what or as much as I thought I did.
Our Lieutenants are the driver / operators and the 2nd Officer of the company. My 1st day as Lt. the Captain was off so that put me “in the seat”. There I sat, in my dad’s old station (#6); a house I had spent a lot of time in as a kid but now waiting for my new crew to arrive for duty. I know I didn’t fully understand what to expect that day but I also know I didn’t expect what (who) came through the door.
A squirrel’s nest of shiny, black curly hair. A pocket book strung off the left shoulder. Shiny, long red finger nails. The unmistakable walk of a confident woman. Wait… she has on a FD uniform… A WOMAN???!! Finger nail polish and pocket books??!!! In a FIREHOUSE??!! KABOOOM! OMG… this is gonna be a long hard ride!
Had I only knew. There it was my job to lead / teach her and in reality, she actually taught me a few things. I had never worked with or around a female firefighter before … needless to say, it took us a while to get comfortable… but we did. It took some yelling, a little fretting and even a few tears (hers..not mine LOL). She even tried to kill me one time. You see, one night; I hadsomebody had placed an IV bag under her mattress. They ran the tubing under her sheets to a position just under where her butt should be. The drip was set to less than KVO. So, when she climbed into bed .. it took a while. Sometime around 2 or 3am her now soaked ass woke her from her deep sleep. A little investigation and she quickly learned that it was the IV bag and not a weak bladder that had her dripping mad.
Now, I don’t know why but she ran straight to MY bed and POUNCED! I was awakened (in the middle of the night) by Marci straddling and shaking the crap out of me. “Wake up so I can kill you.. you little..” LMAO!!! We had some fun times and I will carry the memories of those days for the rest of my life.
We both climbed the promotion ladder. I made the newly formed position of 1st Lt and shipped out to L13. She soon made Lt and years later worked her way up to Captain. The 1st female Captain in the history of our Department. WOW! Marci was instrumental in writing several SOP’s / SOG’s for our Dept. most notable could arguably be the maternity leave policy. She served as the “Acting” Battalion Chief of Training for a while… another first for out Department! In 2006, she left the Department (covered HERE on Roanoke Fire.com) and moved towards what would eventually become “bigger and better” things. On Monday, November 8th, 2010 she was named Deputy Chief of Fire Operations for Bedford County (yea.. ANOTHER first). Bedford County currently has 35 career members and 750 volunteers running out of 24 stations. Bedford is the 3rd largest County in the Commonwealth of Va. She has a ton of work ahead of her but I’m sure she will accomplish everything she sets out to. Here’s the official notification….
As you will recall the position of Deputy Chief has been vacant for several months, during this time Bedford County had accepted applications and received a significant number from qualified individuals. I was pleased that many of them did have connections in various fashions with this region and some directly with Bedford County. The process required that the candidates submit a detailed resume along with their application. After an initial screening a number of candidates where requested to submit a written response to a series of questions on matters that directly impact this community and our delivery of Fire and EMS service. Seven candidates where then invited to an initial interview with a panel of subject matter experts from this region, two Fire and EMS Chiefs one retired and one currently serving in similar communities as ours, and one a former Dept Head in local Government with expertise in economic and community development as well as team and consensus building. This group then made recommendation of three candidates to move to the next step in the process which was an interview with the Assistant County Administrator, a consultant subject matter expert and former county Public Safety Director and myself. That group then reviewed all of the information on the three candidates from the process and made a recommendation to the County Administrator for the final candidate. The County Administrator consulted with several committees of the Board of Supervisors. As you can see this process was lengthy, our goal was to make the best choice possible to meet the many goals and objectives that we have for this position.
With all of that being said I am pleased to announce that Mrs. Marci Stone has accepted the position of Deputy Chief with Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue. Marci comes to use with a background as a program coordinator with the Bedford Science and Technology Center (BSTC) where she was responsible for the joint EMT program in the Bedford County Public Schools and the Central Virginia Community Collage. Prior to that she was the Emergency Management Coordinator for Lewis Gale Hospital and a Captain-Firefighter/Paramedic with the Roanoke City Fire and EMS Dept serving as the Acting Battalion Chief of the Training Division.
November 8th 2010 will be her first day on duty and will be in touch with the Fire & Rescue leadership after that time.
Chief Jack W. Jones, Jr.”
And.. here’s the “official” Chief pic…
I could tell about 100 more stories but had better hold off for now (she may need to hire some Captains or Battalion Chiefs soon). I did want to take the chance to let everyone know about her getting the job (again beating the FireCritic to the story) and tell her CONGRATULATIONS! Look for a lot of big things from Bedford County in the future! For what it’s worth Chief, I’m proud of ya!