Pugh finds consistency with fire dept.

Published 9:59 am Monday, October 19, 2015

Allen Pugh is all about serving others.

Pugh has been employed with the Vicksburg Fire Department since January of 2012 and was assigned to the rescue unit almost three years ago.

“Honestly, it just kind of fits. I served in the military, and now I’m serving a little smaller scale, as far as serving your country and now serving your community. It’s just a rewarding feeling,” Pugh said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

A Vicksburg native, Pugh wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he came back home from the military. He used his GI Bill money to go back to school and a friend, Joseph Rusche, encouraged him to join the fire department because with its ranked structure and the adrenaline flow, it was the closest job to being in the military.

By the time Pugh listened to his friend and applied for the position, he had already received an EMS driver’s license and EMT training, which essentially put him a year ahead of typical new hires. He was then able to start out going to fire training courses. By March 2012, three months after he was hired, he was already in the fire academy and less than two months later they “turned me loose to be a firefighter.”

“When you finally get to put all the pieces together after you’ve trained so much at the fire department and you actually get to go and incorporate it at a fire or at a car wreck, then you see the face of whoever you helped, it’s very rewarding,” Pugh said.

He calls the job bittersweet because he enjoys the work he does, but he hates that it comes at someone’s expense. Some people don’t think the job entails much work or they sit around a lot, but his response is “do you really want me doing work?” In other words, the more work he does, the more people are having a bad day.

“You have some points where it gets slow, but you have some days where you just can’t sit down,” Pugh said.

When a call comes in, he said it’s not like it is on television. They answer many calls including vehicle extrication, rope rescue, confined space, EMS, cardiac, diabetic, general illness, car wrecks, structure fires and so many more. The Warren County area is very large and he and partner Josh Gordon stay busy responding to calls often.

“The rescue unit for the fire department basically assists all the EMS calls that the ambulance run,” Pugh said. “We have four primary ambulances and three backup ambulances. The rescue pretty much assists them with whatever EMS needs they have.”

Based out of Central Fire Station, they have three shifts with two guys on each shift working 24 hours and being off 48 hours. The best part of the job for him is getting to serve the community.

“At the end of the day, it’s very fulfilling and very rewarding to be able give back to the community,” Pugh said. “They give you so much growing up in schools and whatnot.”

Pugh joined the military in 2003 and said he went to Fort Benning for basic training at the infantry school, airborne school, ranger indoctrination, earned his tan beret and became an army ranger, went to ranger school and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received multiple honors for his service including a purple heart when he was wounded in Iraq. After he was wounded, he stayed and finished his tour.

“I just couldn’t see myself leaving my guys over there,” Pugh said.

He gives a lot of credit to his wife, Andi, for dealing with his tough schedule and supporting him in the job he loves. Pugh has a 9-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 10-month-old child who are all fascinated and at ease with the firetrucks and ambulances. They get to visit him sometimes and eat dinner at the station. To supplement his income, Pugh also manages a grass business called Pugh Lawn Service.

“It takes a special family to have this job,” Pugh said.