Volunteer firefighters mourn loss of one of their own

Fellow firefighters remember Sergeant Doug Jackson as he's laid to rest.
Fellow firefighters remember Sergeant Doug Jackson as he's laid to rest.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - From the firehouse to the funeral home, the men of Old Kingston Volunteer Fire Department have seen more than their fair share of losses.

"When you lose a guy like Doug, you lose a lot," says Independence Fire Department Captain, Bob Davis.

Sargeant Doug Jackson was one of those guys--giving extra hours to fight fires--with no pay.

He's the second from the squad to die in just two months.

"It's hard, but you still have to serve the public," says Old Kingston Chief, Bill Stoudemire.

Volunteer firefighters are hard to come by.

"People don't want to give their time.  We don't get paid for what we do. We do it because we love the job," says Davis.

But even loving the job doesn't make coping with losses like these any easier.

"It's hard, because the two men that we just lost...both of them serve as the capacity of sargeants," says Stoudemire.

But folks like Tyler Suttle use that loss to try and save more lives.

Sargeant Jackson was Suttle's uncle and the reason he's here.

"He really helped me with my bunker gear during training and stuff, getting my gear on fast. He even helped me learn every part of the rescue truck."

And now these men are carrying on without Jackson--using his inspiration to do what they love.

"We're on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," says Davis.

"Being a volunteer firefighter and serving this community...it's really awesome," adds Suttle.

Old Kingston has about 25 members.  It's one of ten volunteer fire departments in Autauga county.

While losing members of their force, firefighters say they don't expect it to affect the quality of service.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.