MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Former fire captain Quimby continues to serve

Published 7:46 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

By Gabrielle Terrett

The Vicksburg Post

When one thinks of firefighters, the thoughts that often come to mind are those of brave men putting out huge fires, checking the smoke alarms and refilling fire extinguishers. However, most never think of the technicalities that go on behind the scenes.

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Many firefighters lead extremely busy lives and being a member of their local fire department is usually just the icing on the cake, but for some, like retired fire captain Shane Quimby, it’s their entire livelihood.

Quimby is a lifelong resident of Vicksburg, and over the duration of his time here he has grown to love the city and its residents, which is why he became a member of the Vicksburg Fire Department so many years ago.

“It’s kind of hard to say what made me want to be a firefighter, but I’ve always enjoyed helping people,” said Quimby. “Just stopping on the side of the road and helping people here and there before I got into the military and even when I was in the military I would do it then.

“Even now I still do it. When I’d be on my way to class in Jackson I turned around and saw somebody wrecked on the side of the road and I’d pull over and help.

“You know, there’s always, not really a satisfaction, but there’s always something that makes you feel good to help somebody in the need of help. Whether it’s doing something like that or even just giving them a couple of dollars out of your pocket.”

Although his career where he rose to the rank of fire captain was enjoyable, he received training from other outlets before becoming a member of the Vicksburg Fire Department — including the armed forces.

“I attended all of the local schools here and I graduated from Warren Central High School in 1988. A couple days after graduation I enlisted in the National Guard and I was a member of the Mississippi National Guard up until 2014 when I retired from the Air National Guard,” Quimby said. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without the military. I loved every minute of it. The difficult part was being away from home and not knowing what was going on a lot of times there and family trying not to get you worried about stuff that was going on at home and at the same time trying not to make them worry about what was going on where I was at.

“It’s just that the military is not for everybody. It’s fine if you like it like I did. I’d get out for a month and then I’d miss it and go sign back up. I left it for about a year and decided ‘I gotta go back and finish this.’ You can’t leave anything undone.”

Quimby was promoted to the position of fire captain where he remained for a number of years until he retired in December of 2018.

Even though he is no longer a fire captain, Quimby still has a desire to help people in the community through his current career.

“I’m an emergency manager for the Corps of Engineers today,” he said. “There’s a lot that I can’t talk about but I am very active. It’s very busy work with all that goes on. Mostly I handle natural disasters though, so any kind of flooding, hurricanes or tornadoes with the Corps of Engineers I’ll be involved in it.”

Quimby leads a life that many strive to imitate and he does so because he simply loves the city and sees all of the good qualities that Vicksburg has to offer.

“I love Vicksburg,” Quimby said. “I’ve joked with my wife about leaving from time to time but this is my hometown. There’s a lot of good stuff and there’s a lot of great stuff and it’s getting better everyday.

“You’ve got to look for the good in everything and there’s a lot more good here than there is bad. This is a growing town and I think you’ve got some folks in places that are going to make a difference.”

While it may seem as though he’s led an extremely busy life, according to Quimby there is always room for more.

Along with being a member of the military and a fire captain, Quimby has also volunteered his time by finding new and unique ways to continuously serve the community.

“I’m a member of the Red Carpet Bowl Committee here in Vicksburg,” he said. “It’s basically a scholarship program and we host a couple of football games every fall, typically two, Warren Central and Vicksburg. Sometimes it’s four. We include the two private schools, which we haven’t done lately, but it’s a scholarship program in which we raise money and give scholarships to kids who deserve it since we’re a non-profit organization.

“Then just a couple of weeks ago we had the Red Carpet Bowl basketball game so the same thing with it, we’re going to give some basketball players some more scholarships. Now we’ve even included a golf tournament to help raise money and it’s coming up soon.”

Quimby encourages everyone that he encounters to enjoy what they do and to always look for the best in things.

“You’ve got to follow your heart,” he said. “A lot of people say that but it’s just something you’ve got to feel. Being a fireman all these years and being in the military I’ve seen people at their worst and I’ve seen people at their best. I’ve helped people and been a shoulder to cry on when they need one, I’ve gotten aggravated just like everybody else but you’ve got to look for the best in things.

“You can’t always look for the worst. So smile and keep praying because prayer really works.”