Anderson County volunteer firefighter is a 911 Hero

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (WTVQ) – We all get interrupted at work, but when it happens to Marty Terry, it could be a matter of life and death.

As a Battalion Chief with the Anderson County Fire Department, he’s on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  In 2019, he personally went on 203 calls.  The department answered 350 calls during the year.

Terry was born and raised in Anderson County.  He joined the department 18-years ago and has risen to the rank of Battalion Chief.

There are an estimated 60-to-70 firefighters working out of six fire stations around the county and all but four of those positions are filled by volunteers, including Terry.

He says there’s a misconception about volunteer firefighters.  “The community thinks we’re paid.  I’m often asked how many years until I get my pension or when I’m going to retire.  In the volunteer fire service, when you retire, you turn-in your radio and walk away.  There is no pension.  There is no retirement benefit.  You have to balance having a full-time job to support yourself and your family, but also be ready to drop everything and go help your neighbor who flipped their vehicle upside down on the parkway,” Terry says.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 85-percent of the nation’s fire departments are all or mostly volunteer.  The volunteer firefighter service is made up of a special group of men and women who make tremendous sacrifices to serve their communities and fellow man.

For Battalion Chief Marty Terry, the job is personal.  This is his home.  “It’s your neighbors.  These are people you went to school with, go to church with, see around town.  If they need help, we want to be there to help them,” says Terry.

He recalled working a car accident and the victim was trapped in the vehicle.  Terry says when he arrived on the scene, me immediately realized the victim was a high school classmate.  He says being able to call her by name and having that familiarity, gave her comfort in a traumatic situation.

Terry is quick to give credit to his loving and supportive family for allowing him to serve the community as a volunteer firefighter.  His wife, Heather, is vice president of the fire department’s auxiliary, which is a vital support arm of the operation.  The couple’s two teenage daughters are supportive as well, knowing that their dad may have to go on a call at any time.

“Biblically, you’re supposed to say, I’m going to do such and such tomorrow Lord willing.  We always say, I’ll be there unless I get a call,” says Terry.

Terry gives much credit to the men and women in the department who are willing to drop everything, leave their jobs and families, risk their lives to help their fellow man, for free.

“It’s a calling.  Public service is a calling,” says Terry.

If you would like to nominate a first responder in your community to be a 911 Hero, click on the ‘Community’ tab on our website.

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