Battalion Chief celebrates 30 years of fire service

Battalion Chief celebrates 30 years of fire service

Public service is for those with the strength, fortitude, and desire to serve. No one knows that more than Bobby Brooks, Battalion Chief of the Phenix City Fire Rescue Service. He just reached the 30 years of service milestone working within the city’s fire department.

Brooks was born and raised in Phenix City and he also graduated from Chavala High School, which was renamed Russell County High School after a new school was built. 

While still a student, he played baseball, something that was a regular event in his neighborhood. He has always been a sports fan and enjoys football, basketball, and baseball in equal measure. After high school, he started on the path toward public service.

Before joining the fire department, Brooks worked on ambulances, which allowed him to interact with and see the camaraderie exhibited by firefighters as they worked in the community. Working around members of the fire department piqued his interest and he eventually changed his career field. 

At the age of 20, he became one of the city’s firefighters and remained in that position for seven years. He steadily moved up the ranks and spent five years as a sergeant, and then became the fire engine captain making him responsible for all of the people on his truck. 

Every promotion he earned kept him following the 24 hours on and 48 hours off shift that enables firefighters to be available for action at a moment’s notice. His subsequent position as training captain had him working a typical five day week. However, looking for a change, he returned to shift work as the battalion chief. 

“After 12 years I wanted to try something a little bit different,” Brooks said. “There were a series of promotions and this spot opened back up.” 

Returning to shift work has changed the scope of his duties, making him responsible for supervising major events that impact the lives of the city’s populace.

Becoming and staying a firefighter isn’t easy, but for Brooks, it was a labor of love. In reference to staying with the department for so long, he stated that “It’s just the love of the job itself, interacting with people, there are so many different aspects to this job. I haven’t seen everything, but I have seen a lot.” He urges anyone that wants to pursue a life in public service to graduate from high school and continue their education in college.

A man of faith, Brooks is a father to a 25-year-old daughter. He attends the St. John AME Church in Fort Mitchell. Faith plays a big role in his life. 

“It gives me strength, gives me courage, hope,” Brooks said. 

Religion has provided him with a strong foundation and is a factor in who he is as a person and as pillar of the community.