New Huckabay fire chief working to recruit volunteers, raise money for department.


Huckabay Volunteer Fire Chief Shelby Blackwell

By SARA VANDEN BERGE


Shelby Blackwell took over as chief of the Huckabay Volunteer Fire Department in December 2020 with very little fanfare.


Today, the 53-year-old chief who has spent his entire career as a firefighter is hoping to improve the department by expanding its volunteer base and raising money.

“I took over right after Christmas, so it’s been a little more than six months,” Blackwell told Beneath the Surface News. “I haven’t made any big changes so far; I wanted to sit back and see where our deficiencies were and change what needed to be changed and leave alone what needs to be left alone.”


Blackwell says he has now had enough time to figure it out and is focused on two things: Recruiting more volunteers and hosting events that raise money for the department.


“We get very little funding from the county and everything else we have to raise,” he said.

The department currently has about 10 volunteers, but Blackwell says that’s not enough.


“I would be happy if we had 25 to 30 for our small community,” he said.


He plans to recruit additional resources through outreach programs with Huckabay School and involvement with area events.

“Some of our volunteer firefighters are working the Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival,” he said. “It’s going to be dry and we are going to patrol the campground.


“I’m also an EMT and so are some of the others so we will work the event and be there for any emergencies that might happen.”


Blackwell says his love of firefighting started at a young age.

“I joined the Navy right out of high school as a damage controlman (firefighter),” he said. “I served for four years during Desert Storm.”


He also served as an elected fire commissioner for seven years in Washington State before moving to Texas where he now works as a federal firefighter in Fort Worth.


If you are interested in learning more about the Huckabay Volunteer Fire Department, call 254-968-0422 or email huckabayfirechief@gmail.com.

A NEW AUXILIARY


Lea Contreras and Brittni Owens have started an auxiliary for the fire department.


The group also needs new members and if you are interested, call Lea at 254-485-9041.

Blackwell says there are plans for a chili or barbecue cookoff in the fall and a Halloween party at the fire station for kids.


Stay tuned for more information on both of those events.