District 3 Fire station named in honor of Shayne Kirk

By JASON PATTERSON,

“This department will never forget what Shayne Kirk did for us, and his family will never forget because we will all be reminded every time we pass this place.”

Those were the words of Jack Willingham, Yazoo County’s Emergency Management director, as the District 3 Fire Station was named in honor of one of its first volunteer firefighters Friday morning.

“Volunteer firemen are special to me because they don’t do this for a paycheck, they do it for community service,” Willingham said. “They want to make sure everybody is safe. Every time that radio goes off these people are getting out of bed and leaving their families to serve our community.”

Willingham said Kirk, who died early Monday morning after a battle with cancer, is a perfect example of the kind of person willing to make the commitment required to have a successful volunteer fire department.

“When we started out the first thing we needed was people,” Willingham said. “When I started reaching out to folks, one of the first people who stepped forward was Shayne Kirk.”

Like most volunteer firefighters, Kirk started out with no formal training, but he was determined to learn.

“I asked him if he knew anything about firefighting, and he said, ‘No, but we can figure it out,’” Willingham said. “When we started putting everything together, he was here every time we had something that needed to be done. Every time the fire truck would run, Shayne would be there.”

Willingham said that Kirk remained a dedicated volunteer until his health would no longer allow him to participate.

“Even while he was sick, he did what he could,” Willingham said. “He continued until he was no longer able to go. After he got to the point where he was no longer able to be a part of this, I wanted to do something to let him know that we will never forget him. Thanks to the Board of Supervisors who agreed that naming this building after Shayne Kirk would be a way that we could honor him.”

Tad Duggan, an associate pastor at Parkview Church of God, said that Kirk was a positive influence on many people because he did not let a difficult battle with cancer stop him from professing his faith in God and maintaining a positive attitude.