Employees balance state and military service

This Veterans Day, we’d like to honor the state employees who are also serving in the nation’s armed forces. They must balance the duties of their state job and be ready for active military duty wherever and whenever they are called to serve.   You’ll find two such public servants, Staff Sergeant Ian Montgomery and Senior Airman Billy Cox, working for the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Airlift Wing Fire Department at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.

Here to help

“We are like the shock absorber – when worst-case scenarios happen, we’re the ones here to help you out,” said Billy.

As a firefighter, Billy regularly responds to medical emergencies.  During his first week on the job about a year ago, his first call was to assist a gentleman who had had a heart attack at the airport. “When we arrived on the scene, I was impressed with how the team worked – the cohesion and professionalism,” said Billy.  “We were able to get his pulse back and stabilize him until the medical team arrived.  We saved his life.”

Ian is also a firefighter and oversees equipment maintenance and public safety education, including CPR and fire safety training.  He is also skilled at building miniature models, so he created a “mini” Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport complete with runways, airport workers, emergency vehicles and planes, and the added touch of smoke and water.  “Sometimes we cannot bring a fire engine to the location because it is in use, so this shows our team’s work as an airport fire department compared to regular fire departments.”

The best part of the job

“I enjoy the family atmosphere of being in a fire department,” said Ian.  “Like just about every fire department in the nation, we’re all one big family.”

Ian experienced this sense of nationwide brotherhood last year while traveling through Texas, where he was in a car accident.  The local firefighters who arrived at the scene took great care of him, from administering first aid to assisting him with transportation, food and bunking at their fire station.

“What I enjoy most is being able to help others,” said Billy. “When someone is hurt, I can take the load off their shoulders and put it on mine. “

Serving state and country

“I get to help my community as a state employee, and I also get to serve my country at the same time, which I’m very proud of,” expressed Ian.

Billy credited the state and his management for supporting working service members. “This is the first job I have had that I don’t feel separated from the other employees.  The state sees the Guard as a duty, and I want to give kudos to the Chief and Assistant Chief for this.  They understand that we have to train every month as a Guard member.”

The firefighters of the 165th Airlift Wing will be working to keep us safe this Veterans Day and every day, along with thousands of other servicemen and servicewomen.  Please join Team Georgia in thanking them for their bravery and sacrifice for community, state and country!

Comments are closed.