First Female Fire Chief impacts her community

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Volunteer Fire Chief Sharon Thomas understands how beneficial fire departments are for the community and knows just how important her position is for coordinating response efforts. The volunteer thinks it is vital, as members of the community, to work together in all aspects of emergency response efforts. 

“Because we are such a small community and we don’t have much help, we have to help each other. There’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to helping people,” Thomas said.

Thomas serves with the White Hall Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) as the Fire Chief. She also serves as secretary of the Lowndes County Fire Association and uses her spare time to give back to the children of the community. 

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“We [the VFD] try to give back to our community by sponsoring events such as our annual Back to School Rally, May DAY in conjunction with our local school, Trunk or Treat for Halloween and a Christmas Toy Drive which we are all sponsored by faithful donors that give with gratitude to our children,” Thomas said. “I am so grateful for the people who volunteer with me to help our community.”

Thomas became the first female Fire Chief of the County in 2020 and has been using her position to help better the community. She said she first became a volunteer because of her son who also serves as a volunteer. 

“I started volunteering because my son, who is also a volunteer, would go out on calls and there was a big shortage of people who volunteered during those times, so I didn’t want him to go out alone,” Thomas said. “After that it became fulfilling to give back to my community by simply volunteering my time.” 

Although Thomas likes to spend her time outside of her volunteer work by decorating events like parties and doing floral decor as well as just spending time outdoors, her volunteer work is equally important to her.

“The reward is just knowing that we are able to help and seeing the faces of those we have helped. Just being able to see how grateful they are is enough,” Thomas said.  

Delmartre Bethel, mayor of White Hall, said since Thomas has come to the department, there have been a lot of improvements in the community and the VFD.

“She is a people person, everybody loves her, and she has been dedicated ever since she started,” Bethel said. She works pretty hard and is usually the one that keeps everyone motivated and keeps everyone in the department going.”

Bethel urges members of the community to look into joining the White Hall VFD.

“Right now, the department is understaffed, and I understand that it is a volunteer position so it’s something that people have to be passionate for. We’re definitely looking for people who are passionate about wanting to help and serve other people,” Bethel said. “I just want to remind people that it’s not every day that people lose their homes or personal property and it’s certainly not every day that people lose their lives, so I say that to say this, it’s not you today but just think of tomorrow. I think if people take that mindset and come help out it would be great because we need all of the help we can get.”