By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – For retiring Corinth Fire Chief Rob Price leaving the fire department represents not only a change of career but a total change in direction for his life.
From his early childhood Price, 52, spent some part of almost every day at the downtown Corinth fire station with his grandfather, Roy Fryar. When Fryar retired in 2002, he was assistant fire chief.
“He pretty much raised me, he was my hero,” Price said of Fryar. “He carried me everywhere he went, so I was at the fire station most of the time.”
Price’s quest for a permanent place in the department began right after high school, but first his age then others’ experience stood between him and his goal for a few years while he worked at Gibson’s Department Store.
“I guess you could say I’ve only had two full-time jobs in my life,” he said.
Price recalled the first day of work after his dream was realized in 1984.
“I started work on a Saturday and I think we had three calls that day,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do, just did what they told me when they told me. Soon after that they put me on dispatch for two years before I went on the truck permanently.”
He was in the first class of emergency medical technicians to be trained in the Corinth Fire Department, and remained in that role until being appointed chief eight years ago.
Price said he enjoyed his years as chief.
In that time he secured a grant that bought new outer protective gear for the firefighters and led construction of a new fire station Number 2 on Highway 2.
But what he missed in going into administration, and will continue to miss, is “going in with a nozzle and hitting a fire.”
“My most satisfying run was an accident at the north end of Harper Road,” Price recalled. “A tractor-trailer was across the road and a car ran under it, trapping the driver. From the time we arrived on the scene to cutting him out and getting him on a stretcher was seven minutes, and that included a short period when he stopped breathing. It was a time when everything worked perfectly.”
Price always sought to run a smooth operation, and others remember his service that way.
“I worked with Rob pretty much all of my career and his, too,” said Corinth Police Chief David Lancaster. “I can remember him from early days all the way up to now. As chiefs we’ve worked together pretty closely on issues that concerned both our departments. I’m going to miss our talks and getting advice from each other. Whoever takes his job has big shoes to fill. He’s just a great guy and a good Christian man.”
Filling the job on an interim basis will be Deputy Fire Chief John Wood. The search has begun for a new permanent chief with a job posting on the city’s website and advertising.
“Rob has been a loyal, hard-working, dedicated public servant and he’s going to be greatly missed,” said Mayor Tommy Irwin. “He did a good job for this city and we wish him the very best going forward.”
As he enters another phase and a new career Price is excited but it’s a bittersweet parting.
“I’ve made a ton of friends, and I’ll miss a lot of the guys I work with,” he said. “I’ve made some lifelong friends all across the state of Mississippi.”