Monday, June 30, 2014
Since he was 15 and a junior fireman, Derriel Baxley, 41, of Hemingway has been a firefighter.
Growing up in Johnsonville, he graduated from Johnsonville High School and, eventually, was hired to the one paid position at the volunteer fire department in Johnsonville.
After about five years, he came to Georgetown Fire Department and he’s been here for the past 12 years.
He operates pump ops, drives, he’s a firefighter and an EMT.
He is certified in firefighting 1 and 2, as a Hazmat technician and specialist, in confined spaces, extrication, rope rescue, and boat operations. He is also a fire instructor.
His worst experience, he says, was a rescue call for a little boy about 10 or 11 years of age.
The child and his friend were having a contest to see who could crawl the quickest under a slow-moving train. The little boy lost not only the contest, but his leg.
“I was the first one there,” says Baxley. Bystanders had rushed to the boy and applied pressure, keeping him from dying of blood loss. They, Baxley and EMS saved the child’s life. The leg could not be saved.
“He’s getting around today,” says Baxley, “I saw him a couple of years ago.”
His best experiences, he says, are “when all the firefighters get home.”
His professonal goal is to become an officer and put his training and experience to helping younger firefighters.
Divorced, Baxley says he is lucky to have maintained relationships with his step-children Baylea and Joshua Norwood, 17 and 20, and his son Joshua Browder, 15.
He has no pets now but used to have a Lab named Walker that died.
He still works part time for the Johnsonville Volunteer Fire Department and when he does have free time, he enjoys freshwater fishing, hunting and golf. He used to play softball but can no longer do so after three surgeries on the same knee.
He likes watching football and baseball and is a fan of the Redskins and the Atlanta Braves.
He says he loves to cook and “the guys here say I am good.”
When he is with his kids, they hang out, go out to eat and catch a movie.
His life goal is to retire.
He would also like to travel. “I want to travel abroad and some way, some how, I am going to get to Australia.”