By Alisha Thompson
Imagine starting your first week as Davis’s first ever paid Fire Chief with one of the biggest commercial/residential fires in the history of Davis . . .
Well, Davis Fire Chief Dusty Parsons did just that and won the praise of someone he’s admired for quite sometime, Sulphur’s Fire Chief, Pete Haines.
The following is a letter Chief Haines sent to Davis City Manager Andy Holland after working with Chief Parsons: Good morning Sir, I just wanted to take a minute to drop a note and say I have already worked side by side with your new full time Fire Chief on a few fires and he has been great. Of course, it will take him a while to adjust to the new role, however, his attitude and demeanor to accomplish the mission and make sure of the safety of the firemen has been great. The relationship between our fire departments have always been great and I look forward to continuing that in the future.
On a side note, at the pallet fire on Sunday, it warms my heart to see the Davis Fire Department retired firefighters show up and help with delivering food and water or even dragging some fire hose when needed. Those guys were great and that reflects highly on your Fire Department and your city. If anything we can ever help with, please call and thanks. Chief Pete Haines, Sulphur Fire Department.
Chief Parsons started on April 9, his 41st birthday. A Davis native, Chief Parsons said that he never saw himself as Davis’s Fire Chief, in fact, he walked away from his fire career not expecting to go back at one time in his life.
Born and raised in Davis, Chief Parsons is husband to wife Sandy and father to Cassidy, 14; Kennedy, 11 and Case, 5. His parents are Gary and Winona Parsons and his brothers are Brandon and Chayne. “I have lived here all my live,” explained Chief Parsons. “When I graduated, I moved to Blanchard. There, I started doing construction and made a lot of fire department friends.”
Shortly after Blanchard, he found himself in Crescent in 2000 pursuing a degree in municipal fire protection at OSU at OKC. “From there I was hired in Enid as a full time fire fighter and worked there for over a year and a half.” Then he made his way to the City of The Village in Oklahoma City in 2003 and worked there for 5 years.
Not one to sit still, Chief Parsons said he became a ‘gypsy’ building fire training towers all over the United States. That job, however, came with a choice. Chief Parsons said his wife Sandy said “you have two jobs and a family, pick two. I don’t care which one you pick.” So the days of working in Tennesse on a fire training tower and leaving to make it to work by 7 a.m. in Oklahoma soon came to an end. The Chief chose building fire towers.
From there, SNP Construction was formed combing his construction company with this father-in-law, Thad Sandusky’s welding company to building fire training towers across the United States.
The duo built fire training towers for around 6 years. Two years longer than expected when the economy tanked in 2008. The last tower they built was in Kingston, Ontario in 2012.
In 2016, Chief Parsons sold SNP construction and pursued a medical degree. He is three classes and an MCAT away from being Chief Dr. Parsons or Dr. Chief Parsons . . . . when that happens, we will ask him how that works. He said he’s going to finish that degree because it will only allow him to be more helpful in the field.
Speaking of being well rounded, he was reserve Murray County Sheriff’s Deputy, too.
“I’m not a cop, but I’ve been a cop,” Chief Parsons said. With the ultimate curiosity of wondering why people didn’t show the same respect to a cop as they do a firemen, he became a reserve deputy under Sheriff Darrel Richardson. The added benefit of learning the law enforcement side of public service has proven valuable to Chief Parsons.
Chief Parsons joined the Davis Fire Department in 2009 and held various officer positions, never serving as chief until this year. Shortly after, he was named Davis’s first ever paid fire chief.
A municipal fire degree and an attitude of service seemingly pushed Chief Parsons into this position. “I remember being asked when interviewing for this job what I saw my hours being or how much I would work,” he explained. “I told them I was the Fire Chief for this many hours and it didn’t stop when I went home. I was a volunteer fire chief if my pager went off after I left the office.”
He is still learning the ropes as fire chief and it’s taking some time to get used to the meetings, the paperwork and boards he serves on, like the E-911 Board for Murray County. He still hopes to see a combination of volunteer and paid fire personnel in the next 3 to 5 years. Until then, he will search for grant money in hopes of helping fund this idea and make it a reality, sooner rather than later.
Davis has around 22 volunteer firemen. Chief Parsons said they are always looking for interested men and women to join the volunteer department. Applications are at the Fire Department or City Hall. Interested parties have to be 18 years old or older and can not be in school. No experience is necessary.
Chief Parsons said he can have a 30 member department but is looking for stability with 25 volunteers.
Humble and grateful, Chief Parsons said that his hiring coincided with the 10 year anniversary of fire station being built. He now has an office in the fire station and in the two months he’s been the man in charge, he’s not used to one thing in particular, the amount of respect that is given to his position. “The amount of people who call me chief instead of Dusty,” he laughed thinking about it. “I just hope they see that I want to give them the same respect in return.”
By Alisha Thompson