Robert McGough serves Crenshaw County four decades

By Shelby Mathis

Honoraville Fire Department Chief Robert McGough stepped into his turnout gear for the first time nearly four decades ago in 1984 and has been responding to emergency calls in Honoraville and the surrounding areas ever since.

McGough said he always knew he wanted to volunteer and help his community, and joining the Honoraville Fire Department created a love for emergency response that has only grown over the years.

According to the volunteer chief, one of the most difficult things about his role as a volunteer firefighter in a small community is the ‘small community’ aspect in itself.

“Helping people and serving the community is my favorite thing about being a firefighter,” McGough said. “It can be difficult having to respond when the person in need is someone you know whether it be your neighbor’s house burning or your brother in a car wreck. Ninety percent of the time we know who the person is when we get a call, and it can be tough sometimes. Dealing with the tragedies of people you know is hard.”

McGough acknowledged that there is a common misconception regarding volunteer fire departments that he wishes more people understood.

“A lot of folks think we get paid for what we do, and they don’t realize exactly what it means to be a volunteer fireman,” McGough said. “They don’t always realize what we do for the community until we have to show up at their house. Whether it’s getting up at midnight to go to a call for a house fire or responding to a medical emergency, we don’t get paid for what we do. Our payment for what we do is when we help somebody and they tell us ‘thank you’ for helping them when they needed it.”

Chief of Highland Home Fire and Rescue Richard Jordan expressed admiration for McGough’s dedication to service and to his department over the years.

“He’s [McGough] like me and several old folks, we’ve been around forever,” Jordan said. “He is instrumental in everything his department does and he makes everything happen. He has stayed very faithful to the department despite having some medical issues of his own, and through everything he has been with them through thick and thin.”

McGough discussed his favorite parts of the role he plays within the Honoraville community, one in particular is hosting the department’s yearly peanut boils from which proceeds are used to aid in funding the department. McGough said the second boil of 2023 is coming up on Oct. 20-21 and will help provide equipment for department members as well as fund the construction of the department’s new fire station.