LAWRENCEVILLE – There was a feeling of camaraderie at the Fire Department’s Triplet Volunteer installation and awards banquet held recently. Volunteers provide a valuable service to society. David High who served as Lieutenant and Chaplain officiated but answered a distress call and could not be in a photo taken after the banquet. Highly recognized Charles Jones who has dedicated his life to community service for 53 years.
High said the fire department lost two members last year, Lloyd Bennett and Miles Moore. He shared information about the two members calling attention to Moore’s mechanical abilities and their dedication to firefighting.
Chief Daniel Wright said the fire department responded to 39 calls in 2022: 11 fire, 16 motor vehicle accident or EMS calls and 12 non-fire and EMS calls.
Devon Clary Jackson, Co-Emergency Services Coordinator for Brunswick County, posted officers and shared her background in emergency services.
Clary said she was asked to induct a new officer and spoke about her role for 30 minutes.
“Thank you Allison (Wright) for inviting me here tonight. I saw so many great examples of public servants: David (High), Daniel (Wright), Patricia (Moseley), Charles (Jones), Patty (Richardson), and Ricky (Woodard). It is an honor to serve alongside these great people,” said Jackson.
Jackson said he was born and raised in Brunswick County and attended Meherrin-Powellton Elementary School. He remembers helping his mother with Summerfest in the 1990s and they had a scanner in their house. His first job was at M & L Grocery in Gasburg, Virginia working with Marvin, Louise and Dean. He said the red phone sent the call before 911.
“I don’t know how, but it worked because of dedicated people who are committed to helping people. My first call was suicide when Mitch (Copeland) said ‘Would you like to ride?’ and I was hooked,” said Jackson.
He said the Central Volunteer Rescue Squad was at home during his 17 years as Vice President and President. In 2005 Jackson became the first E911 Coordinator under the leadership of District Administrator Gerry Vincent and Sheriff James Woodley.
“We use pen and paper because there are no computers. We took it step by step and wrote down many grants, millions now going towards research, phased changes and support from local administration and Board of Trustees, amazing employees and God’s grace,” said Jackson.
Jackson said now the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office has 10 full-time dispatchers handling every call. He commended Joy Seward, Head of Communications, for her expertise, especially in completing the required paperwork. Jackson said BCSO answered 57,910 calls, incoming and outgoing, in 2022, and 8,591 were E911s. The communications center serves 7 fire departments, 3 rescue teams and works closely with the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Virginia Department of Transportation and other agencies. He said every warrant that is served comes through the sheriff’s office and last year 800+ warrants were served, plus 225 adult and child emergency protection orders. A minimum of 2 people answering 5 radios, 10 E911 lines, 6 business lines and 2 after hours lines.
Jackson said employees receive training in crisis intervention and stress management. They are always looking for grants.
“We are working with injured people and the first person they talk to is the dispatcher. School safety is in the news a lot lately and we are able to accept grants to help stop bleeding in crisis situations, provide tourniquets. We all want to think it can’t happen here but we have to train and be ready. The sheriff’s office has completed active shooter training in collaboration with Brunswick County Public Schools, Brunswick Academy, Southside Virginia Community College, and child care facilities on what to do in an emergency situation. Just because we are rural doesn’t mean tragedies can’t happen here too,” Jackson said.
Jackson said the main challenge for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office was adequate staffing. He encourages people to contact them if they are interested. Jackson shared the story of an operator on duty for the first time and was worried. They offer words of encouragement and that helps.
He says people matter and it’s important to empower, engage, develop and support.
“Let people try. It doesn’t have to be your way. Open to new ideas. Serve. Do the right thing. Go above and beyond. Every problem has a solution – you just have to find it. Don’t be afraid to try, it’s okay to stumble and fall along the way, just keep trying. Perfection does not exist but growth does. One of my favorite quotes is ‘You get the best out of people not by lighting a fire under them but by starting a fire within them,’” Jackson said.
For more information about the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, call (434) 848-3133 or visit www.brunswickso.org.
Ann Moore, who lives in the South Brunswick area, spoke of her objections to proposed solar projects in the area. He has a petition for people to sign against the Rocky Run Solar Project. He was concerned about light and noise problems calling attention to preserving Brunswick County’s rural appearance.