History-making selection

Published 5:37 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

UNION – A veteran local firefighter has been selected to serve in a leadership role the regional level.

Chris Smith

At their quarterly business meeting last month, the Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association named Chris Smith as their President. Smith is the Chief of the Union Rural Fire Department.

This marks the first time a Hertford County firefighter has been selected as president of the Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association since it was established in 1934.

Smith said there are three regional fire associations (Eastern, Piedmont, Western) that allow for information sharing and representation at the local level.

“They are extensions of the NC State Firefighters Association that allow us to concentrate more so on the local impact,” Smith said. “Each association sends appointees to represent each region at the state level associations. They are the NC State Firefighters Association, NC Association of Fire Chiefs, and NC Fallen Firefighters Foundation.”

Smith joined the joined the Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association Board of Directors in 2010.

“I did that because I wanted to bring a voice to our regional association about the many different issues and faucets faced in the fire service of our local area,” Smith noted.

In 2015, Smith became part of the Executive Board as Treasurer and then in 2020 he was appointed as the 2nd Vice President. Last year he rose to the office of 1st Vice President in advance of this year’s honor of being the President of the Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association. He will serve a one-year term, then serve as the Past President for one year before rotating off the Executive Board in 2024.

The Associations’ mission is to support each member by providing education, information and representation for the fire service of Eastern North Carolina.

“We do that by promoting informed and progressive leadership through professionalism, dedication and integrity,” Smith said. “We also foster a professional and personal relationship among our membership, and strive to assist the return of our personnel safely to their families.”

The Eastern Carolina Firefighters Association, which covers 37 counties, awards annual scholarships, sponsors and hosts continuing education and schools, recognizes firefighters with awards and supports its membership in many other ways.

“I had the privilege to give Chief Jason Howell of Como Fire Department the Fire Chief of the Year award for the East in 2020,” Smith recalled.

Smith is marking his 30th year with the Union Rural Fire Department, joining in 1992. He worked with the North Carolina Forest Service as Assistant County Ranger in Hertford County from 1996-2010. Smith is currently Hertford County’s Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshal.

“With serving 30 years in the fire service in some way shape or form, it is and has been a great honor for me to be able to serve such dedicated group of firefighters and be there voice in the East at this level,” Smith concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal