Published 7:42 am Sunday, March 31, 2024

Like many little boys growing up, Vicksburg native Neal Pryor wanted to be a firefighter when he was young.

Today, the husband and father of one is doing just that. But, that isn’t all he’s doing. Like most members of the Warren County Fire Service, Pryor also has a “day job,” family responsibilities, and all of the other aspects of day-to-day life to juggle.

In fact, Pryor said his work as a volunteer firefighter is pro bono, which begs the question: Why do it?

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“The main difference is we just don’t get paid, ya know? We’re just doing it out of the goodness of our hearts, I guess. Just trying to help the community out.”

Pryor said the fire service is broken up into seven districts, with each volunteer working the area that includes his or her home address. For Pryor, that is District 3.

“We cover mainly south of I-20,” he said. “But if we need help, we’ll call another district. But (the fire service) cover(s) the whole county.”

Pryor said providing that service is critical for keeping people outside of the Vicksburg city limits safe.

“Like most people say, the city fire don’t come to the county, so if your house catches on fire in Warren County, the volunteers is all you got,” he explained.

Pryor has been a member of the fire service for 11 years.

Pryor works for the Fisher Ferry Water District during the day and also cuts grass on the side. He is also busy with daily life with his wife Makenna and the couple’s 3-year- old son Wyatt. But Pryor said it is important to him that his community is cared for, even if that requires long days and sometimes calls in the middle of the night.

“Most of the time I’m busy, so if we get something, you’ve got to stop what you’re doing and respond to the call,” he said.
As a kid, I always wanted to be a fireman and when I turned 18, I moved back home to Vicksburg. I met a guy who was in the Warren County Fire Service and he talked me into trying it out and I just fell in love with it. I love to help people and there ain’t no better way to help people than to be a volunteer fireman.”

Pryor said having the word “service” in the title of the organization is fitting.

“You see people on their worst days, ya know? And you get to help them out on that day. It makes you feel real good,” he said.