Hundreds of Volunteer firefighters risk their lives daily to serve Southeast Texas

Hundreds of Volunteer firefighters risk their lives daily to serve SETX

LUMBERTON - The death of Assistant Fire Chief Jay Hinkie hits close to home for many Southeast Texans, especially those who serve the community as volunteer firefighters.
 
At the Lumberton Volunteer Fire Department, you can feel the sorrow.
 
"It makes you sit back and be thankful for all the men that you have and be vigilant because it's very dangerous," says Chief Jeff McNeel, with the Lumberton Fire Department.
 
For Chief McNeel, this incident is a reminder to always show care for all his firefighters, especially the 34 volunteers.
 
Those like Jimmy Priest, who has served for almost 40 years.
 
"I just want to serve the community," Priest says.
 
And like him, there are hundreds of other fellow volunteers across Southeast Texas.
 
Of the 64 Fire Departments in the Counties of Jefferson, Orange, Jasper, Newton, Hardin, Tyler, and Chambers, 52 of them are run by volunteers.
 
 
"They have to have courage," says Chief McNeel.
 
The loss of Silsbee Assistant Chief Jay Hinkie is an example of that bravery and courage.
 
"It just saddens us to see things go as is," Priest says.
 
"People don't realize, but it hurts," he explains.
 
Firefighters remember Hinkie as a hero and a man who lived his life for the service of others.
 

 

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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