Firefighters, community raise $10,500 for injured firefighter

Palmetto Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Wally Bruce, sitting, thanks everyone as he stands with his wife Brenda, from left, son Capt. Bryan Bruce, Verona Fire Department Assistant Chief Charles Smith and Verona firefighter Brooks on Green Saturday morning during a fundraiser in his honor at the Lee County Agri-Center. Assistant Chief Bruce was injured in a fire July 5, and Capt. Bruce, Smith and Green were recognized for their help in pulling him from the fire. (Lauren Wood(

Palmetto Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Wally Bruce, sitting, thanks everyone
as he stands with his wife Brenda, from left, son Capt. Bryan Bruce, Verona Fire Department Assistant Chief Charles Smith and Verona firefighter Brooks on Green Saturday morning during a fundraiser in his honor at the Lee County Agri-Center. Assistant
Chief Bruce was injured in a fire July 5, and Capt. Bruce, Smith and Green
were recognized for their help in pulling him from the fire. (Lauren Wood(

By JB Clark
Daily Journal

VERONA – More than 200 firefighters and community members gathered to bid on auction items and raise money Saturday for a fireman injured in a fire earlier this month.

Wally Bruce, assistant fire chief for the Palmetto Volunteer Fire Department, said Saturday was the first time he’s gotten out since his injury July 5.

The fundraiser brought in $10,500 to Bruce to help with medical costs while he is unable to return to work.

“I’m doing better, having my good days and my bad days,” Bruce said during the live auction Saturday morning at the Lee County Agri-Center in Verona. “It’s amazing how the public and fire departments have gotten together and did this for me.”

Couches, recliners, tools, cakes, hunting trips, grills and taxidermy are just a few of the things donated for the auction.

“I’m going to the burn center in Jackson and they’re telling me it’s going to be a long drawn-out thing,” Bruce said. “It’s probably going to be a month or two before I can go back to work.”

He works part time for Toyota, Tupelo Fire Department and Saltillo Fire Department.

Bruce has bandages around his calves but otherwise appears to have recovered from the injuries sustained in the fire. He said walking still hurts but he was in good spirits Saturday morning.

“This is the first time I’ve been out since I got hurt and I couldn’t miss this,” he said. “This is amazing. Words can’t express the feelings this morning.”

Barbecue plates cooked by Daniel Vaughn and Greg Williams were sold for $10 each.

Before the auction, Bruce gave out award plaques to his son, Capt. Bryan Bruce, as well as the Charles Smith and Brooks Green, the two Verona firefighters who pulled him from the fire.

jb.clark@journalinc.com