By Josh Troy
Clarksdale Fire Department’s new training facility is officially open for business. Fire Chief Rocky Nabors said those words during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the training facility on Thursday. The training facility is located next to the fire station at 602 Sasse St. Mayor Chuck Espy said in 2017, the year he took office, some of the highest standards and best practices were implemented in making sure the city had highly qualified leaders in all areas. “I want to give applause because, over that period of time, from 2017 to today, Chief Rocky Nabors has met and exceeded that standard,” said Espy as applause followed. “So, today, we’re just here to showcase what the Mississippi Delta truly looks like.
As you see with this new facility that Chief Nabors has constructed with his own vision to bring forth one of the highest standards in the Mississippi Delta, fire departments across the region will be able to partner with the Clarksdale Fire Department to raise standards to do what Clarksdale has done. We are meeting and exceeding those standards. Congratulations, Chief.” Nabors asked Clarksdale firefighters to stand behind him as he spoke. “This is a proud moment here at the Clarksdale Fire Department today as we celebrate the completion and unveiling of our new training facility,” Nabors said. Nabors acknowledged Training Chief Hunter Rybolt, who led the effort as the firefighters built the training facility themselves.
“For the past year, it has been the highlight of my days to watch my team become engaged and take stock in the building of this facility,” Nabors said. Nabors said firefighters showed up on a daily basis while the facility as being constructed. “As awesome as they are, I have to tell you they did not act alone. For this reason, I am equally proud to be proud to be right here in Clarksdale and Coahoma County, Miss., because of the support we have received from our community,” he said.
Nabors acknowledged the Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners for allocating funds, Willard Concrete Services for donating time and services, True Value Manager Heath Lester for donating supplies, the Coahoma County Road Department under the leadership of manager Otis Griffin, the Clarksdale Public Works Department under the leadership of Craig Amerson, Clarksdale Public Utilities under the leadership of Curtis Boschert, the Coahoma County Board of Supervisors, Clarksdale Ward 3 Commissioner Willie Turner and Coahoma County Sheriff Charles Jones.
Nabors said the collaborative effort saved the City of Clarksdale $100,000. The training facility cost approximately $50,000. Griffin, Amerson, Boschert, Turner, Jones, Ward 1 Commissioner Bo Plunk, Ward 2 Commissioner Ken Murphey, Ward 4 Commissioner Ed Seals, County Administrator Kim Seals, Coahoma County Supervisor District 1 representative Paul Pearson and Coahoma County Supervisor District 3 representative Derrell Washington were present for the ribbon cutting.
Nabors said neighboring communities such as Quitman, Tunica, Tallahatchie and Bolivar counties will be able to use the training facility. Assistant Fire Chief Rodney Jackson provided the welcome at the ceremony. “Please note that this is your fire department,” he said. “Your presence is always welcome here, but it is particularly welcome today so we thank you so much for allowing us to celebrate this momentous occasion.”
Crossroads Economic Partnership Executive Director Jon Levingston acknowledged Nabors, the fire departments and police departments for protecting the community. “We are so proud of this facility and we want to thank our first responders here in Clarksdale who help keep all of us safe at all times,” he said. Millicent Dixon, Clarksdale’s grant writer, economic developer and government relations coordinator, emceed the event. “It has been said that a good firefighter knows how, a great firefighter knows why,” she said.
“The Clarksdale Fire Department, under the leadership of Chief Rocky Nabors and at the direction of the Board of Mayor and Commissioners, shows a dedication to knowing the how’s and the whys of safety, to keep Clarksdale and our neighbors safe.” Dixon said the city experienced another year of no fire fatalities and that was a cause for celebration. She also said the training facility was the latest example of the fire department’s innovation. Minister Reggie Howell said the prayer, Tasha Tucker sang the National Anthem and the Clarksdale Fire Department gave a tour of the training facility following the ribbon cutting.