Public servant: Poplarville Fire Chief retiring
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015
At the end of this month, Poplarville Fire Chief Bobby Strahan will retire after more than 30 years of emergency and fire service to Pearl River County.
Strahan, who was born and raised in Poplarville, is a graduate of Poplarville High School.
He was drafted into the Army in 1969. Although he was not sent to Vietnam, he was stationed in Germany for two years where he was a driver for a general.
“It was a great experience for me to drive the general around,” Strahan said.
Upon his return to the United States, Strahan secured employment with Texaco as a CAD operator.
During that time, he served as a volunteer firefighter with the Poplarville Fire Department and 24-years later when he was laid off from Texaco, he served as volunteer fire chief and EMT.
Soon after, the county hired him as their fire coordinator and director of the Emergency Operations Center, a job he was conducting when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
“I worked with representatives from FEMA and MEMA during that time,” Strahan said. “At one point we had support from agencies in Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama and Florida.”
During that time, Strahan said there was quite a bit of activity. The EOC served as a distribution center where residents could volunteer, donate or pick up necessary products.
“A lot of people in Pearl River County rolled up their sleeves to help each other, it made you feel good about our community,” Strahan said. “It was about friends helping friends.”
During his last term as Poplarville Fire Chief, Strahan said a lot has been accomplished, which included the purchase of a 75-foot ladder truck. The truck will help with the city’s fire rating and ensure first responders can access tall buildings.
Strahan said he leaves behind a well-trained staff, which includes full-time firefighters and certified volunteers.
“They are committed and dedicated to helping the citizens of Poplarville,” Strahan said. “I see good things happening in the future between the department and the city. I’m leaving the fire department in good qualified hands.”
Strahan said he prayed for a solid two weeks before deciding to retire. While he is still in good health, he plans to travel with his wife and enjoy the company of his children and grandchildren.
He plans to return to the department as a volunteer to offer assistance during the transition.
For Strahan, the most rewarding part of his tenure has been serving the public and the town he loves.
“People know me as someone that will help somebody,” Strahan said. “I’ve always helped where I can and just have a compassion to help others, which I probably get more out of it than they do. I really believe it’s a God-given gift. To this day, that love and compassion to help others has stayed with me.”