By Martin Couch
The Bryant Fire Department is well known at the Arkansas Fire Academy as one of the top recruiting stations in the state.
That's one reason that probie firefighter Michael Newton chose to come here.
"I grew up in Redfield, Arkansas and graduated from White Hall," Newton said. "I went to college for a while, then figured out that it wasn't what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a fire fighter so I came here to do this."
Seeing his friends talk about being a fire fighter and going on to fulfill their dream was one of the inspirations for Newton to become a fire fighter, but he credits his cousin Jesse Clark as his main role model.[more]
"I've got a lot of friends who were talking about it and they went on to do it, but my main inspiration was my cousin," Newton said. "He was in the Marines and I really looked up to him. He is a cool guy and he went on to be a fire fighter. I thought that was something I could do, too. I applied at a few different places and wanted to get hired on here."
Last February, Newton was hired by Bryant and sent directly to the Arkansas Fire Academy for training.
"I graduated from there the first of June and now I'm waiting on my year to be up so I can stop being a rookie," he said. "I guess I do a little more cleaning than most of the guys, but it's not bad and you get a lot of jokes played and fun stuff like that."
But being a probie isn't all bad either, because Newton gets to go on calls where he's one of the many who help the residents of Bryant.
"I can't think of just one instance, it's more like every time we get to go out and help someone, it's nice to know we can be there for them," he said. "I know that Bryant has one of the best departments in the state. That's what I heard at the fire academy that they get the top of the class and I wanted to be a part of that and training with some of the best. This is a really nice area, a nice town and it has good people."