AMORY – This year’s firefighter and police officer of the year were honored July 22 through an annual tradition hosted by the Amory Rotary Club. John C. Campbell of the Amory Fire Department and Marshall Eubanks Jr. of the Amory Police Department were chosen by their peers for the honors.
“Today we’re here to honor two outstanding gentlemen. Both of these first responders embody compassion, pride, courage and the skill sets necessary to be considered for this award. These gentlemen both go above the call of duty and they remain ready to support their comrades, their department heads, as well as their community,” said Mayor Corey Glenn, who expressed his appreciation for Eubanks and Campbell’s service.
Campbell was hired by the AFD in 1992 and went full-time in 2000. Some of his skills include rope rescue and dive rescue in addition to being a hazmat technician and rescue survival technician.
“I want to thank the good Lord for giving me the gift to do this job. I’ve been doing this since ’92 and have seen a lot of changes and I’ve loved every minute,” he said.
The AFD has 23 personnel with volunteers who assist. For 2020, fire chief Zack McGonagill said his department responded to 33 fires, 486 medical calls, 19 hazmat calls and 32 service calls within the city limits. Additionally, it provided mutual aid for 14 structural calls out in the county.
McGonagill’s future goals for his department include fire safety and prevention lessons for students and the public, drawing in more volunteerism and constructing a hazmat prop for training.
Eubanks started with the APD in 2019 at age 50, completing the Mississippi Delta Community College Law Enforcement Training Center later that year.
“I love ministry, and this is an opportunity to do this on the streets and I’m grateful for that,” Eubanks said, who is also a graduate of the Magnolia Bible College and Freed-Hardeman University. “Amory has always held a special place in my heart and to do this here has been a dream come true. Even at the age of 50, you can start new careers along the way.”
The APD is allotted 32 full-time positions and three part-time positions. For 2020, police chief Ronnie Bowen said his department responded to 296 car accidents, had 595 book-ins at the city’s jail, answered 14,008 calls for service, wrote 989 citations and responded to 1,117 incidents that required reports.
Bowen added whereas the state mandates officers to receive 24 hours of training per year, the average rate per officer is 57.4 hours for training.
The Rotary Club typically honors the first responders in January but rescheduled the event due to COVID-19 complications earlier this year.
Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook noted Rotary Club member Don Mitchell first presented the idea of honoring first responders who serve in the community, which was supported by other members.
“I love it’s an award chosen by the peers. The personal challenges you face every year, the challenges the municipality may be facing, you know those things and know who’s rising above and meeting expectations and exceeding them,” Crook said.