Griffin is Firefighter of the Year

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holsie Griffin said he was known as “slick” when he was a boy because he was always “slick at getting out of trouble.”

Now Griffin spends some of his time running towards trouble. A volunteer member of the Greenville Fire Department, Griffin was awarded the department’s Firefighter of the Year award on Monday night by Asst. Fire Chief Jeff Presley.

Presley said Fire Chief Mike Phillips, as well as the department’s paid firefighters, were all in agreement that Griffin deserved the award.

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“He’s been with us about a year,” said Presley. “Our volunteers, like Holsie, comes in and does pretty much the same things we do. He loads hoses, overhauls and cleans the equipment and helps get it back in order. He answers calls with our guys on the weekend. And he does it all without pay.”

Phillips said Griffin is not just a good firefighter, but also an outstanding person.

“He’s always here. Always here on drill nights to participate and he always responds to the calls,” said Phillips. “Anything we’re doing Holsie is here to help. And he does it all volunteer. In this day and age it’s hard to find that. I wish I could find more like him.”

Griffin started working with Greenville firefighters at the department’s annual Haunted Firehouse and fundraiser, held each year during Halloween.

“One of the guys who volunteer asked me if I wanted to come and park cars, so I went on an helped,” said Griffin. “Chief Presley asked me how I would feel about becoming a volunteer and I told him I would. So I filled out an application and I’ve just being going ever since. I enjoy it.”

Griffin works 24 hours per week with the department. He is one of nine volunteers who work side-by-side with the city’s 21 employed firefighters.

“I’m on shift from eight to eight,” he said. “I like to be able to help people and try and learn new things.”

What is hard, said Griffin, is not the dangerous work of fighting a fire, but seeing the damage the fire has done to its victims.

“It touches you a lot to see when a house is on fire,” he said. “Especially when you see kids who have lost everything. And then it hits you when you realize the people didn’t have insurance.”