Hometown Heroes--Waycross and Ware County Firefighters, Others - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/14/07

Hometown Heroes--Waycross and Ware County Firefighters, Others

US Rep Jack Kingston presents a flag from the U.S. Capitol to a member of Ga. Forestry for their efforts during the Ware County fires. US Rep Jack Kingston presents a flag from the U.S. Capitol to a member of Ga. Forestry for their efforts during the Ware County fires.

Earlier this year, America watched as wildfires destroyed homes and acres in Ware County. The fire brought volunteers from around the country to help. But the firefighters who live there faced the toughest challenges.

This week they received a special pat on the back.

Firefighters from Waycross and Ware County could buy an American flag at any hardware store. But those they got from Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA Dist. 1) had flown over the Capitol. The flags came as a sign of support after the weeks and months these crews battled the largest wildfire in Georgia history.

Firefighters like Tony Dubberly say they're still catching their breath months later.

"It was taxing on the firefighters and their families," Dubberly explained. "Everyone's personal lives were on hold for weeks and months. It disrupted everything."

The fire spread more than anyone could predict, destroying more than 400,000 acres. They saw help from thousands of firefighters from two dozen states.

Through it all, the firefighters said the names on the trucks and the names on their shirts meant nothing when it came to working together.

"We ran our department like it had five stations," noted Waycross Fire Chief Cedric Scott. "We have three that we have personnel staffed 24 hours a day. We ran like we had five stations."

Kingston visited to say thank you to police, sheriff's deputies, EMS and the rest. He says their cooperation serves as an inspiration.

"I think there are a lot of lessons Washington could learn, because this was a phenomenal team effort," Kingston said with a laugh.

For their efforts in the face of disaster, firefighters from Waycross and Ware County are this week's Hometown Heroes.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com 

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