First Responder of Week: Barrett leads Valley Grand VFD

Published 9:12 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Billy Barrett has been volunteering with the Valley Grande Volunteer Fire Department for 15 years and has been the chief of the department for 2 years now.

He works full time as a truck driver, but he has devoted much of his time to helping his local community.

“I wanted to give back to my community and help people out,” Barrett said. “I always wind up being there for anybody that is in need.”

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Barrett said he likes volunteering with the department and going on calls throughout the week.

“I enjoy working with other firefighters. I enjoy meeting different people and encountering different things because everything is different on every call you go to. From this wreck to another wreck, from this house fire to another house fire,” he said.

Barrett had a grandfather that worked for the Selma Police Department, but besides him, Barrett was the first one in his family to be a first responder.

“It gives me a joy to know that I can wind up helping anybody that really needs it whether you’re poor, rich, it doesn’t matter what color you are, I’m there for you if you need it,” he said. “Helping someone in the time of need is the biggest thing.”

Barrett is married to Jessica and they have one daughter, Elizabeth.

But Barrett said the fire department is also like family to him.

“We’re brothers and sisters. We may cut up here and there, but when it comes down to it, we’re all business,” he said. “You have family at home, but they’re family too.”

Barrett said after a hard call, the firemen and women help each other out by talking through things and comforting one another.

“The hardest part is going to a house and seeing someone lose everything they have and not really be able to comfort them … or you go to a wreck and you see someone that loses a loved one,” Barrett said. “If you have a problem, before anyone goes home, you tell them your problems because you don’t want to take what you’ve seen home to your family. Your fellow firefighters will wind up being there to comfort you.”

Barrett said he loves volunteering, and he encourages anyone that has thought about it to do it.

“There’s people out there that think they can’t do this, I thought the same thing when I first joined, but being a volunteer you can train at your pace,” Barrett said. “So if anyone would like to volunteer, please just get with your local community and join in, in any way you possible can.”