New Volunteer Fire Station Dedicated In Honor Of Fallen Firefighter

It was a proud yet bitter sweet moment for Doris Kistler and her family.

"He would be proud today, but he wouldn't feel that he was the one that should be honored," says Saucier Volunteer Doris Kistler. "It would be our fire department and the men on it, and the men and women."

Doris's husband Gary, who headed up the Saucier Volunteer Fire Department for 30 years and made it one of the best equipped and best trained departments in Harrison County died in the line of duty just six weeks short of this day he had so long awaited.

"He would laugh when people would say, oh that's the Kistler fire department," says Doris. "We that never crossed our minds. We just thought we were part of the community and wanted to serve it."

And they continue to serve along with a staff of volunteers, all trained by Kistler, in the new facility that bears his influence and now, his name.

"This is a 4800 square foot building," says Harrison County Fire Marshall George Mixon. "It's approximately 2000 foot bigger than the other station. It allows us to hold 5 pieces of equipment. It'll have a meeting room and business office, and it will have a second floor for further expansion as the community grows."

Growth that's already underway, and was greatly accelerated following hurricane Katrina.

"I would say anywhere from maybe 100 to 200 people at this time, says Harrison County Supervisor Connie Rocko. "And I'm sure it's growing all the time and there's a lot of developers looking at the property."

A growing population that will rely on Saucier's all volunteer staff for their safety and in some cases, their lives.

But it's a staff that's now ready to grow along with those needs, thanks to the man who devoted his life to preparing them to protect and serve.