Introducing Explorer Mason

This young man connected with me through Instagram and

Mason Lillard, age 12

through several conversations about the fire service, and my department, Lone Oak Volunteer Fire Department, he has impressed me. With his passion and knowledge of Chattanooga Fire Department history. I have invited him to write a post for my blog and have even set up his own category here called Explorer Mason as I suspect he'll be sharing more of his insights. So it is with my pleasure to introduce Mason Lillard:

Hi! My name is Mason Lillard. I am 12 years old and I live in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. I am a young video editor, photographer, YouTuber and a firefighting historian. I visited my first fire station when I was four, Chattanooga Fire Station 16, and immediately fell in love with firefighting. They even showed up to my 5th birthday party! How cool is that?

As I grew older, I realized the seriousness of the job and started to understand that it's not all fun and games. I started to find out that it was a very serious profession and that at first it’s exciting to run the calls and be a firefighter, but as the years go by in the fire service that excitement starts to go away and you start to see things you wish to un-see. That's what my Dads older brother wishes.

My dad’s older brother joined the Fire Department of New York in May of 1998 and so did my dad’s little brother. They worked at the same station, same shifts and rode the same truck for a little while. My dad’s little brother was switched to the ladder truck before the most horrible their lives – September 11th, 2001 when the Twin Towers were struck by two planes.

At around the time the South tower collapsed on 9/11 my dad’s little brother was in the tower. He lost his life and his body was never found. They believe if they did find his there would be nothing left. This scarred my dad’s older brother for life, as he would never forget that day.

Mason in bunker gear

So ever since hearing that story I have completely devoted my life to becoming a first responder for the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee. I want to pursue my dreams of becoming a first responder and serve my community. I want to be a part of the brotherhood that the fire service is and to help people in need. Even if I'm at work or not I want to be able to tell people that it’s going to be ok. I want to help a homeless person off the streets and into a shelter. I want to be able to help a family in need when their house is burning. But it all is done as a team. As the brotherhood.

~Mason Lillard 

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