First responders, government representatives to meet and discuss partnerships

Published 9:23 am Friday, June 29, 2018

Citing a desire to build partnerships and provide the community with the best emergency services possible, one local first responder is calling everyone to the table for open discussions.

Jack Buckles, Chief of the Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department, is organizing a meeting between local first responder agencies and local governments. Invited to the table are all of the local volunteer fire departments, the Carter County Rescue Squad, Carter County, the City of Elizabethton, and the City of Watauga.

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The meeting will take place on Thursday, July 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Lynn Valley Baptist Church. The meeting is open to the public, and everyone is invited to attend, Buckles said.

“It’s more of an informational meeting just to try to see if there are different partnership opportunities we can find to provide better service to the community,” Buckles said.

Through the meeting, Buckles said he is hoping to create a task force comprised of local emergency services personnel and representatives of local government.

“I want us to sit down together open-mindedly to see if there is a better way for us to do business,” Buckles said.

In addition to his service with the Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Buckles previously worked as a firefighter and fire marshal with the Elizabethton Fire Department.

“By being involved in the city and county side for so many years, I have seen both sides of it and how we can work together in better ways,” Buckles said. “We used to work better together than we do now, and I want to rebuild those partnerships.”

Most of all, Buckles said, he wants to open a dialogue with everyone involved to make sure everyone is working together to provide the best possible emergency services for the community.

“We may find there are partnership opportunities there to work together, and we may not,” Buckles said. “We may look into it and see we’re where we need to be.”

The idea for the open discussion was one Buckles said he had on his own. “This is something that has been on my mind for a while,” he said.

Buckles said there had been some rumors circulating that the meeting will be about merging the volunteer fire departments into one agency, but that is not the intent of the meeting he added.