Gene Morrison has spent the majority of his adult life volunteering as a member of first response teams in Erath County. Having served as both a volunteer firefighter and reserve sheriff deputy, he has been trained for many avenues necessary to keep a first responders department running. Morrison has since retired from the fire department but took a few minutes to speak to E-T about his part in the volunteer sector.
1. You have been a volunteer with both the Stephenville Volunteer Fire Department and the Erath County Sheriff’s Office. What have been some of your responsibilities to these entities?
“In 1975, I joined the Stephenville Volunteer Fire Department. I stayed there 23 years and served as the fire chief for a period of time. I got my EMT and ran the ambulance part of the time.
“But in 1998, I quit recertifying for all of the positions. The department got bigger, and they didn’t need as much help.
“I became a reserve deputy in 1985. Back then Tarleton had a class where I could get training. I also was able to get my license as an arson investigator with the fire department. You have to be a certified peace officer to be an arson investigator.”
2. Your actual paying job is at Tarleton State University. What have been your roles on campus?
“Right now I’m an inspector, and I review plans. I went to work in 1965; I have been director of facilities and of construction. I retired in 2006, was off 30 days, and came back as a part-time employee in the physical plant. I inspect jobs, meet with architects and engineers when we are working on things.”
3. Working as both a fireman and peace officer must have put you into some dire but interesting situations. What was something you remember that made your adrenaline pump a little faster?
“The first thing we did when I joined the sheriff’s office was get into a drug raid. We went out into the country, walked into a pasture and surrounded a house with a drug lab. We went in and took prisoners and hauled all the drugs off. It was an interesting night, especially for my first night as a reserve sheriff deputy.”