BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Stress is part daily life for first responders. In Biloxi, firefighters have found a unique and constructive way to deal with it.
"You have to find an outlet to be able to process the things we see and do as firefighters," said Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney.
Amy Strickland makes Lovelady Creations Pottery. While visiting his aunt in Georgia, Capt. Jim Davis told Strickland about what his colleagues deal with everyday.
That's when she had an idea.
"I felt like clay would be a great outlet for them to work through some of their stresses," said Strickland.
Strickland recently visited Biloxi to teach the firefighters how to make pottery.
"At first I didn't know if any of the guys would be interested in it," said Boney. "It was something that we'd never dealt with before."
It didn't take long for participants to catch on. Although they're accustomed to putting out fires, Strickland showed them how to use fire to create works of art.
"It kind of gives you a little bit of down time," said Boney. You don't worry about the things that are in your head for a little while. You worry about this one thing, and then when you're through, it's a sense of accomplishment."
"The fish they built were amazing, and the crosses have just turned out so incredibly beautiful," said Strickland. "They all just concentrated so hard, and were able to actually create pieces on the wheel which is really difficult to do."
It turns out, Chief Boney has found a hidden talent. He was able to make a firefighter helmet.
"It was something that I thought I wanted to do. I took it on, and I think it's taken on a life of it's own. Everybody has been real apprehensive about not breaking it; it's the chief's," said Boney. "But I enjoy it."
Boney says he hopes pottery making will continue to be a an activity used in the fire station.
Strickland plans to write a summary of her experience on her website http://loveladycreations.com/.