New firefighters reflect on those lost on September 11th

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - On September 11th, hundreds of New York firefighters died trying to save people trapped in twin towers. Ten years after the terrorist attacks, firefighters across our nation continue to risk their lives day in and day out to help others. In Jackson County, a class of new recruits talked about why they stepped up for the challenge.

They have a lot to learn but Jackson County's newest volunteer firefighters said they're determined to do their part to protect their communities.

"I'm a person, and I would hope if I was in that situation that someone would be there to help me," said Tyler Dugan, East Center Volunteer Fire Department. "We see people on their worse days, and we're there just to make it a little bit better for them."

Trainers spent Saturday helping newbies from five volunteer fire departments develop the skills they'll need to put out fires. The recruits say the anniversary of September 11th is a reminder that this job takes commitment and at times, sacrifice.

Will Yates of the Central Jackson County Volunteer Fire Department said, "September 11th, just seeing how many were there and how many lost their lives. The people actually see what happened. What firefighters, police officers, all first responders do on a daily basis to help out people."

"It makes me proud to be a fireman," said Dugan. "I wasn't there that day, but I hope to uphold the name and the kind of respect that they've had for so long."

Some firefighters said while the community shows more appreciation for first responders now, many don't realize firefighting is a difficult job, even at times when nothing is burning.

"We have to keep the trucks on the road. We have to keep the equipment ready," said Nick Rivera, a trainer for the Jackson County Fire District. "We have to train ourselves to be in shape to assist the community when they need us. There's a lot of things behind the doors other than just sitting around the table having fun."

The Jackson County Fire District put on Saturday's training exercises. Officials say anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter should contact their local department.

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