Longtime Fire and EMS Director Bobby Storey has at long last fought his last fire but the spark that led him to devote 48 years of his life — 21 with DeSoto County — and spend a career saving lives and property still remains.
Storey was honored at this past Monday's meeting of the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors for a career that actually began when Storey was a mere 15 years old in 1970.
Storey's official tenure with DeSoto County ends at the end of this month but Storey said he will still "be around" if he is needed.
Storey was hired June 1, 1997 in his official capacity after years of being a volunteer.
He served as EMS Director from 1997-98 and when those jobs were combined, Storey was named Emergency Services Director over Fire and EMs and EMAA from 2005-2014. His stint as Fire and EMA Director ranged from 2014-18.
"As the population tripled, there was still just one Bobby," DeSoto County Administrator Vanessa Lynchard said. "DeSoto County's emergency services cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the great state of Mississippi."
Storey was appreciative for all of the praiseworthy comments but he in turn lauded his staff.
"I didn't do all this by myself," Storey said. "It took a very dedicated staff."
Storey fought his first fire in 1973, a fire that still haunts him.
"It was a structure fire in the West End of Hernando," Storey said, adding sadly, that "four kids were lost."
Storey said that tragic experience led him to devote his entire life to helping save as many lives as he could.
"That made me determined to do better," Storey said. "It made me want to see things improve."
And it was possibly that tragedy that sparked Storey to strive for excellence in emergency response.
Storey would go on to represent DeSoto County and the region as a Task Force 1 Commander, working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.
"We cannot thank you enough for your commitment and dedication," District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner said.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.