SODDY-DAISY, Tenn. (WDEF) — There was no Volunteer Fire Department in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee until 1970.
It took a community effort, and some extra special people to make it happen.
One of them was Jerry Smith.
The former chief was honored last week by his friends and fire department volunteers.
At the end of a 50-year career, Smith is News 12’s First Responder of the Month.
A couple dozen friends and fire department volunteers paused last Saturday to honor a man they say is one of the fathers of the Soddy-Daisy fire department.
Jerry Smith actually worked full-time at the Dupont plant, but he found time to be a firefighter in his home town.
He was there for 50 years.
He remembers how it was back then as the department struggled.
As a rookie, heard of a fire in town and decided to respond with a piece of equipment borrowed from the Ft. Oglethorpe fire department..
“And when we got over there it was a false call..and I put my head out the window..I said ‘Thank you Lord, cause I had no idea how to get water out of it.”
There are enough stories like that to fill a book..and many of them were recounted in a publication now out about the Soddy Daisy Fire department.
“Inside this publication..to one of our original and most dedicated members..Chief Jerry Smith..and Jerry we want to present you with this..and Alma..thank ya’ll for your service…applause..I know you’ve go to say something Jerry.”
Former Hamilton county sheriff’s office chief deputy Allen Branam was just a teenager when Jerry took him under his wing.
“Like anything, structure, organization, anything, to have a long, successful career, you have to have a good foundation. And Jerry is very instrumental in helping form that original foundation ..and set the goals and ..the bar is still high as far as the service top people ..Soddy Daisy and if it wasn’t For Jerry and a few people like him ..I don’t Know that we would be where we are today.”
JERRY “Let me say to the firemen, that I do love you..if you guys enjoyed this department as much as I have the last 50 years, you’ll be in 50 years ,too. Thank you.”
He may in retirement after a long career, but Jerry Smith is still a big part of the Soddy-Daisy Fire department. And, we’re happy to name him our First Responder of the Month.