One of the highest honors in the fire service in the state of Ohio will be given to a man right here in the Ohio Valley.
Gary Fellows says over his 46-year career fighting fires, his work preparing the men and women on the front lines sets him apart. If you step inside Gary Fellows garage in Brilliant and it’s pretty obvious what he’s passionate about, we asked “18 years old, Oh my gosh what made you want to do it?”, Fellows response, “My dad was a fire fighter.”
Starting in New Alexandria he moved to Brilliant where he served in every position at the station, his favorite as chief. He’s known in the area for rescue, he was one of the fire fighters that started using mountaineering tactics like vertical rope rescue to save lives, “But now that’s the standard today, I mean what we started back years ago with the command types ropes instead of the manilla ropes you know the ropes that we’re using today, we started them,” Fellows said.
Not only did he have a big hand in setting the standard, he wrote and taught it too. Authoring part of the Ohio State fire training books and teaching thousands of fire fighters in the tri-state, “Most of the guys that are there teaching I started, I taught them back years ago,” Fellows said.
Now, 40 years later, he’s still making an impact on fire fighters who are working today, “He goes my Dad told me to take your class and to pay attention, he says that you taught my Dad and you’re the best that he’s ever been in.”
He said the reward is seeing his career come full circle and sharing his work with his family, who will be right by his side when he receives the 2017 Ohio Fire Educator Lifetime Achievement Award one he says he never thought he’d get just for doing what he loves, “Community service, just to be able to do something for your local constituents and everybody it’s just, if you got knowledge you got to share it.”
Gary will receive his lifetime award on September 21 at the State Fire Marshals office in Columbus.