Lions Club member Jimmie Van Norden welcomes Fire Chief Reggie Cooper to the meeting.

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the meeting room of Jose Tequila’s Grill. President Jimmie Van Norden called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions.

She asked Lion Dudley Swofford to open the meeting with prayer, then appointed Lion Paul Martin to lead the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags. Lion Stan Spence led Lions in singing “My Bonnie” and “America.”

Acting Lion Tamer Jimmie Van Norden welcomed Lions to the meeting. She advised the club that there were 16 in the den. The Thought for the Day is: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give!”

Tail Twister Lion Chris Horsley, as usual, joked with the Club. There were two birthday celebrations – Lions Dudley Swofford and Bob King. The group sang our “Happy Song” in their honor.

Lion Chris is in charge of planning and finding a suitable location for the Lion’s Christmas Party. He will report next week about these plans.

President Jimmie introduced the program, Marshall Fire Department Chief Reggie Cooper. Chief Cooper gave an update on the department, reporting that MFD is organized into six departments: Emergency Management; Fire Supervision; Emergency Medical Services (EMS); Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting. MFD has a nearly four million dollar yearly budget. Close to 75-80 percent goes to salaries. The department has three shifts and under normal conditions, there will be 15 firefighters on each shift: the Captain, Lieutenant and thirteen firemen.

Chief Cooper pointed out that much time is spent in fire suppression and fire prevention. They are constantly searching for ways to interest young children on fire prevention. In addition, the department has a fire marshal and two fire investigators. Also, there are three personnel who are certified Peace Officers.

This training is the same as Marshall Police Department, with the exception of more intensive training in arson investigation. Since arson is a felony, this officer/firefighter has to be ready at all times to make an arrest. He also has the very best training on preparing a case for court and testifying on the case.

The entire MFD is EMS Certified and they make close to 6,000 EMS calls a year. Over the last couple of years, the department has moved to smaller ambulances. By doing so, there are no long distance ambulance runs. The smaller vehicles get better fuel mileage and over a 10 year period, will result in nearly a million dollar savings on fuel.

Several Lions asked questions, including one reference to the 1904 Fire Truck that now has a home at MFD on Grove Street. It is one of two fire trucks purchased by the city of Marshall in 1904. Obviously, both are retired: one has been restored and the other one is in the planning stage of restoration after being found in a scrap yard in Longview. The scrap yard owner told Reggie that ”everything in this scrap yard is for sale except the fire truck. He told the Chief, “I’ll just give it to the department!”

President Jimmie Van Norden thanked Fire Chief Cooper for an informative program and presented him with a Lions writing pen. She closed the meeting with prayer and adjourned the meeting.