Firefighter honored for 20 years
by Rachel Davis
Dec 26, 2012 | 2007 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fire Chief David Waid presents Ricky Woods with an axe honoring his 20 years of volunteer service. – Photo by: Rachel Davis.
Fire Chief David Waid presents Ricky Woods with an axe honoring his 20 years of volunteer service. – Photo by: Rachel Davis.
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When Ricky Woods moved back to east Walker County after many years living in Boston, he wanted to do something to give back to the community. He decided to volunteer at Sumiton Fire and Rescue, becoming one of the first African-American firefighters in the area.

“I was totally inexperienced,” Woods said. “I just felt like it was my duty to help out in my neighborhood.

Now, Woods is one of the veteran volunteers. He helps mentor the newer members of the department and has been named Fire Fighter of the Year for the department twice.

“They’ve treated me like family,” Woods said. “The guys here have always been good to me.”

The fire department recently honored Woods’ 20 years of service by presenting him a commemorative SFRS axe at their annual Christmas party.

In addition to firefighting, Woods is retired from U.S. Steel and takes classes at Bevill State Community College to keep himself occupied. He loves to grill and considers himself something of a chef. He is also a deacon, Sunday school teacher and gospel singer at his church.

“My life has been great, I have no complaints,” Woods said, sitting in the fire department’s current day room. “I’ve had bad times, but God has always turned them to good.”

Despite all his hobbies and responsibilities, Woods is one of the department’s most reliable volunteers, always available when the tone goes out that there is a fire or emergency.

“I feel like God gave me a gift to be able to help people when they are sick or their house is on fire and be able to minister to them,” Woods said. “My goal is just to be able to satisfy God.”