Frederick has heart to serve

Published 9:40 am Monday, August 31, 2015

A decade ago, Culkin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lamar Frederick lost everything while helping his community.

Frederick, who moved to Vicksburg in 2011, was living in Pass Christian where he was chief of the West Harrison County Volunteer Fire Department.

“I had a 14-by 80-singlewide, and on the morning of Aug. 29, 2005, it got flattened out. A tornado came through and just wiped it out,” Frederick said.

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Frederick couldn’t spend long mourning the loss of all of his possessions. There was work to do and survivors who needed help.

“From the break of daylight until dark we stayed on the road trying to search for people and open roadways so we could get through them,” Frederick said.

Now, with the same dedication to service, Frederick serves the residents of Warren County.

“Some people join just to say they’re a volunteer fireman and put lights on their vehicle, but you have to have the heart to serve the community and protect the community,” he said.

He moved here in early 2011 after reconnecting with his former girlfriend and now wife Shondail. He had spent 17 years in the fire service before he made the move.

“We’re lucky to have him relocate up here. He’s got a lot of experience,” said Chuck Tate, a longtime Culkin volunteer firefighter.

Tate said Frederick’s experience with the massive storm a decade ago has been a boon for what is regularly the county’s busiest volunteer fire department.

“It’s been a good thing. He’s had some experience with bigger events, Katrina and other hurricane down there. That helps out from how you approach things,” Tate said. “Not everything that was done down his way is the way that we do it here, but he did bring some new idea to us.”

Warren County firefighters have responded to more than 800 calls across six departments so far this year. More than 200 of those calls have gone out to Culkin firefighters.

“If they don’t think we stay busy, they can come to the fire department,” Frederick said.

Being a volunteer who rushes headlong into danger takes a special kind of person, and the county’s fire departments are always looking for volunteers, Frederick said.

“Everybody is hurting for people right now. You can have 100 people on your roster but you can get only four or five on a fire call if you’re lucky. That’s not just Warren County that’s all over the state,” he said.

To join a county fire department, residents should find out what fire-protecting district they live in, visit the fire statione and fill out an application.

“The word that gets people is volunteer. Even though it’s volunteer you’ve got a lot you have to do. You’ve still got to training and respond to calls,” Frederick said. “If you’re hearts in it, we need you. If you’re heart’s not in it, don’t even think about it.”