Not many people find their passion in the midst of tragedy, but Warren County volunteer firefighter Cedric Martin did just that.
“My grandmother’s house caught on fire, and one of the firemen on the scene was Mike Gettinger. From that day, he raised me up right alongside his kids,” Martin said.
“I grew up at the fire station and would go there every day,” he added. “Those guys raised me from a little bitty 8 or 9-year-old. I’d just go up there and hang around.”
The firemen not only sparked his desire to be a firefighter, but they also taught him how to be a man, Martin said.
“They kept me out of a lot of trouble. All of the guys up there played a huge father figure role in my life,” he said.
Martin had some major setbacks trying to achieve his goal of being a firefighter, but he never let that stop him.
“It was always my dream to be a firefighter, but I lost my eye and that kept me from getting on with the city,” Martin said. “I am just glad God blessed me to be on this department.”
The loss of his eye may have slowed him, but his devotion has made up for it.
“God knew my heart and my passion for this job,” Martin said.
A Vicksburg native, Martin, now 42, has been with the Warren County Volunteer Fire Department at the Culkin station for two years. It is a volunteer position, so he also uses his passion for giving back at the Vicksburg Convalescent Home where he works as a floor technician.
“I love helping the patients,” he said. “I love taking them to doctor’s appointments and keeping smiles on their faces.”
He has been with the convalescent home for seven years, and Martin says the patients depend on him.
“I just love being there for them,” he said. “It’s sad to say, but some people will just drop them off and never come back, so I do what I can for them.”
Even though his firefighting career began late in life, Martin said it is what he’s wanted since he was a boy.
“My dream was to be a firefighter, but I had to wait on God’s timing,” he said. “When I got the phone call from the chief, I’ll never forget it. It was a Friday afternoon. He asked me was I still interested in joining the fire department, and I said ‘Yes, sir’ and he said, ‘OK. Well, be here Monday.’”
Martin said ever since showing up that Monday, he has not missed a training or a meeting in his two years with the department. Recently, he was one of 14 Warren County firefighters to be certified by the Mississippi Fire Academy.
“I’m dedicated,” he said.
“I just want the county to know, if they need somebody they got somebody,” he added. “I’ll be there for them. They can always count on me. I’ll do my best to never let them down.”