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Dedication gets its reward
Fire station named for longtime fire chief Mike Smith
Chief Mike Smith, right, shown with Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell, spent more than 40 years in the firefighting service. That service culminated Tuesday with the volunteer fire station being named after him. - photo by Steve Scholar

The Bryan County Emergency Services honored one of its own last week when it renamed South Bryan Volunteer Fire Station No. 3 on Highway 144, the Chief Mike Smith Volunteer Fire Station #3. Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell called it a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to serving others.

Smith retired in January as chief of the South Bryan County Volunteer Fire Department.

“Chief Smith spent 40 years of being around a fire house on a daily or weekly basis, the majority of that being South Bryan County’s Volunteer Fire Chief,” Howell told the dozens who gathered to honor Chief Smith at the renaming ceremony.

“We wanted to thank him for the time, service and dedication he has given to Bryan County,” Howell said.

 “I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by good people through the years. It was a small department when I started.  Having good people around me made it successful,” Smith said.

The retired volunteer fire chief also thanked God and his family for any success he had on the job.

 “Glory to God. I want to thank family, especially my mom and dad,” Smith said.

Smith comes from a long line of firefighters, including his father, who also was a fire chief, three brothers, a nephew and brother-in-law.

“For Chief Smith, becoming a firefighter was a family tradition. He started at the Thunderbolt Fire Department.  He ultimately became one of the youngest fire chiefs of the Thunderbolt Fire Department and under his leadership the department prospered.

“Chief Smith brought his passion and knowledge to South Bryan when he moved to Richmond Hill,” Howell said at the ceremony.

While chief, Howell said Smith was instrumental in starting the annual public safety day, creating a junior firefighting program and overseeing the creation of a firefighter memorial, dedicated to all firefighters who service in Bryan County.

“I think it’s only appropriate that we name station #3 after Chief Smith. He has been a catalyst for change in fire prevention and an advocate for firefighter safety,” Howell said.
Smith, who has worked in the concrete business for more than 28 years, said he was humbled by the renaming of the volunteer fire station.

“It was quite an honor. It was very emotional,” Smith said.

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