North Magoffin equipped and ready to serve

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Less than a decade ago a group of 13 men headed up by Jimmy Phillips sought ought some advice and assistance and created a fire department.

Less than a decade ago a group of 13 men headed up by Jimmy Phillips sought ought some advice and assistance and created a fire department.
Phillips served as the first fire chief before passing away from Leukemia in 2004. And if the department he helped start is part of it the Phillips’ legacy is growing stronger with each passing day.

From its humble beginnings, North Magoffin Volunteer Fire Department has grown into one of the biggest departments in Magoffin County.
“None of this would be possible if it hadn’t been for Jimmy,” current chief Josh Jenkins said. “I don’t think it (the department) would have ever happened without him.”
The department organized late in 2001 with 13 members. Currently, North Magoffin has 33 members, 19 of which are Kentucky certified and the remainder are currently seeking certification, a five-bay 100x40 station complete with training and office area, and eight vehicles.
“We’re really fortunate with our equipment,” Jenkins, who took over for Rick Tackett as the department’s chief in 2007, said. “We’re very happy where we are right now, but there’s always room for improvement.”

Tackett, who replaced Phillips, was one of the founding members, along with Greg Keeton (current safety officer), current assistant chief and 1st Engineer Ronnie Jenkins, Tracy Hall, Tony Skaggs, Dwayne Skaggs, Mark Jenkins, Jason Jenkins, Jack Hunley, Rick Tackett, David Tackett, Hearl Isaac, and Tracy Jenkins.

Charles and Gay Ward donated land for the fire station’s location and people like Salyersville Fire Chief Paul Howard, Paul Douglas Conley, Magoffin County Rescue Squad Captain Carter Conley (also a NMVFD member), and members of the District III department, who hosted initial training, extended a helping hand.
“When they first started it, it was fun to be around,” Josh Jenkins, who was a mere lad at the time, said.
The department, with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds and coal severance tax dollars, began building the department.
In 2002, with $102,000 FEMA money, purchased much needed equipment including air packs, turn-out gear, and other items.
“It really got us on our feet,” Chief Jenkins said. “The county helped out tremendously and the department owes a lot to Marcella Salyer and Paul Hudson Salyer.”

Through the years, Chief Jenkins says support from county officials, including Bill May and Charles “Doc” Hardin, along with sheriff Bob Jordan who donated lights and other items, also helped the department grow.

Jenkins said Buck Lemaster, representative of the Magisterial district where North Magoffin is located, was also a huge supporter.
Another FEMA grant in 2005 allowed for the purchase of a 4-wheel drive pumper, and just last week the department used coal severance money and help from the Salyersville National Bank to buy a 1,800 gallon capacity truck.
With two pumpers, one mini-pumper, and three tankers, North Magoffin has the capacity to haul 7,000 gallons of water at a trip.
Chief Jenkins is hoping the equipment, training, and other additions will help lower the department’s safety rating, which would lower insurance rates in the department’s coverage area.

“Right now we’re at a nine, and that’s mostly because there aren’t any hydrants in the area, but we’re planning on putting in water storage tanks and that should help,” Jenkins said.

“From a community standpoint, the benefit of having the department is the fire protection, but there’s a lot a lot of other things we can do to help.
“From a member’s point of view, it is being able to help the community,” he continued. “When you help someone and they come back and thank you…that’s a pretty good feeling.”
And the willingness and the eagerness to help is priority number one for being one of the North Magoffin Volunteer Fire Department guys.
“You gotta have the heart that you wanna go out and help people,” Jenkins said. “We fight fires, go on EMS runs…we do a lot of things that require training and work.

“But it’s also a club too. We spend time at the building and it is an organization that young people can get involved in to give them something positive to do.”

Jenkins says the department accepts junior members starting at age 16 and adds that it is an effective alternative to other harmful activities teens could become involved in.
Current North Magoffin officers are 1st Captain Chuck Ward, 2nd Captain Shawn Howard, 1st Lieutenant Scott Phipps, 2nd Lieutenant Blake Isaac, Assistant Engineer Glen Patrick, and Assistant Safety Officer Kenny Isaac.
Community Day is one of the department’s biggest annual fundraisers, and Chief Jenkins says that’s due mainly to members’ families, who donate their efforts and skills.
Salyersville National Bank is the main Community Day sponsor and Jenkins issued a special thank you to Scotty B. Patrick and Donna Salyer.
“I wish I could thank everyone who has helped us, but I know I’ll leave people out,” he said. “I hope they know we appreciate everything people do for the department and that they know what they’re doing helps the community.”
Ah, the community, the backbone of the North Magoffin and all volunteer fire departments.
“The community has been great to us. People in this area have been so supportive and without that support we couldn’t continue doing what we do,” he said.