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Athens Fire & Rescue, Valley's First Responders January 2022

Five crew members' quick action helped save a woman's life in May 2021.

ATHENS, Ala. — First responders have a matter of minutes, if not, seconds to save lives. It's exactly what one group of firefighters did in Athens.

We're not highlighting just one, but five Valley's First Responders this month!

In May of 2021, Athens Fire & Rescue got a call to a nearby business that would change one woman’s life.

“It’s just a few blocks over, so we were able to get there in a few minutes and that was a big factor, getting there so quick,” said Athens Fire & Rescue Firefighter/EMT, Brandon Joyce aka ‘Perm'.

Joyce, also known as, 'Perm' is one of the five firefighters in action.

“She didn’t have no pulse, so we did start basic life support and then EMS got there, we transferred her to patient care,” said Joyce. 

“My guys they just kicked into action on scene, and Brandon and Trey [Stinson], they’re the youngest guys here. They’re great firefighters and we don’t have to tell them to do anything, they just jump into it and do it. They done the job and got it complete,” said Capt. Chris Gillman, Athens Fire & Rescue.

Another part of the crew included Drivers Martin Ezell and Colton Hill.

“The guys I work with, they are exceptional employees and I hate to say it, but they make me look good, and so that’s a great feeling on its own,” said Gillman.

Joyce says nerves didn’t kick in, but the skills he’s learned.

“I really just fell back on my training that I had got in schools. So the nerves, I didn’t have any. I was just focused on what I needed to do, and I had my brothers around to help me and hand me equipment.”

Joyce says he’s been with the team since COVID started, and has developed a brotherhood.

“Pick on each other. We have a good time, it’s like family. We’re here for 24 hours, so that’s the only people we have to fall back on when times.”

Joyce, with this advice for future firefighters:

“Follow your dreams and if you do, look up to the people that I have been doing for a long time.”

“I’ve always had the thought of being a firefighter, I just never fell through with it. And one day I was like, you know what,  I’m just going to go for it, so that’s what I did, and now I’m here.” 

They have more experience True heroes, thank you! Do you know someone who could be the next Valley's First Responder? Nominate them here!

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