Anthony joined the Swannanoa Fire Department as a Volunteer Firefighter in January of 1990. Like many firefighters across our county, he found the mix of helping others, importance to the community and comradere to closely match his values.
Anthony's father served as the Fire Marshall at the Beacon plant for many years and one way or another, safety was always a topic. When asked why he moved toward joining the department, Anthony stated "At some moment you look around and see what the people you look up to are doing...... the fire deparment was one of the biggest opportunities I could see for stepping forward to serve others at the time".
After continuing to train and serve, he also served as the Board of Directors Treasurer before being hired as a full time firefighter in February, 1995. His carreer would rise through the ranks and was hired as the Fire Chief in October 2001 where he still serves today.
His career further extends with a list of stepping up to serve in many other ways:
Awarded "Chief Fire Officer" Designation from the center for Public Safety Excellence
Secretary of the Western NC Firefighter's Association
President of the NC Firefighters Association.
NCSFA Legislative committee
Volunteer Safety Worker's Comp Fund Board
Bachelor's Degree in Fire & Emergency Services Administration from Fayetteville Sate University & an Associate's Degree in Fire Protection Technology - AB Tech
Advisory Council for public safety programs at AB-Tech
The service never stops, the need never ceases.
Anthony tells of some of the memorable moments in his career, many are what he calls "Shared experiences" with citizens facing crisis.
"There were many house fires over the years, each with its own challenges but the toughest were those where life was lost. Public education remains a top priority and anything we can do to prevent fires is key but no doubt, they will occur and we must be ready."
"I have seen wildfires, responded to hundreds of motor vehicle collisions, managed the Beacon Fire, Floods from Hurricane Francis & Ivan, Blizzard of 93, working CPR many times, searches for missing persons and so many incidents it is hard to remember them all.... the simplest were times just helping one of our senior citizens out of the floor and back in to bed or changing a battery in a smoke detector for a senior.... just simple service. Some of these calls were face to face evidence of why we need programs to help protect our children, seniors and other groups."
"Many things are the same but we keep running more and more calls... it is just going to keep getting busier as the county grows in population."
"Recruiting is tough for public safety these days. There seems to be fewer and fewer people stepping forward to take the risk and help. Public Safety is not an easy path but we need to assure that our citizens are expertly proteced for decades to come."
"One thing that is relatively new over the last few years is the opioid crisis. The frequency of responding to overdoses is just staggering at times. To be on scenes where first repsonders are bringing someone back to life or in the worst cases ones that result in death... it is overwhelming to actually be face to face with the issue. It is complex... no single answer but I look forward to collaborating with multiple resources to tackle the problem on a county level. I know and have seen the awesome work of our fire, EMS and law enforcement and they will need our support to help tackle the problem."
"One thing is for sure..... Safety of its citizens is the first duty of government and I look forward to helping continue making sure our people are well protected"