By Faye Gaston
Rob Cameron, Chief of the Union Springs Fire Department, was going to fires in 1967 with his father, a fireman with this department. He would let Rob sit in the fire truck with Joe Renfroe.
He would "babysit" Rob, but Joe also taught him a lot about the operation of the fire truck. In those "good old days," it was okay for a five-year-old to sit in the fire truck at a fire. Joe explained everything he did and why he did it. Rob began officially as a fireman in November of 1982 when he was 18 years old. He knew the operations of the truck and what to expect at a fire.
When asked about his long service as a fireman, Rob responded: "I grew up in the fire service and learned a lot about fire behavior and a lot about myself. It has been a rewarding part of my life so far, but there has been a lot of devastation and loss of life over the past 40 years. I have seen way more than I ever thought I would and some things I wish I could forget.
"The scorching hot summer days and freezing winter nights take a toll on oneself, but that is part of the job. In the mid-1990s, my brother Seale joined the fire department and is still here today. At one point, he and I and my father were all together in the fire department. As I said before, it has been a rewarding 40 years.
"I have had the pleasure of hopefully making a difference in this city that has been my lifelong home. This city has given me the opportunity to be what some only dream of. I am thankful for the men I work with, their dedication and commitment to all who live here, and those who travel through. As I was once watched, I now watch the young firemen, seeing the eagerness to get the job done, the excitement as their confidence builds, and their loyalty grows to the fire service.
"These young men proudly serve the community and put their lives on the line to protect the citizens. In Proverbs, I think it states, "Iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another." This one verse describes the brotherhood of the fire service. We lean on each other for strength, we feed off each other for, and weage ."