Guiding in the community…Following a building fire, firefighter Greg Hughes 
explains to fellow firefighters the process involved in following up once the fire 
is out.
Guiding in the community…Following a building fire, firefighter Greg Hughes explains to fellow firefighters the process involved in following up once the fire is out.
Submitted Photo

Local firefighter celebrates twenty-five years in the business

by Presley Hughes, reporter

Forty-six year old local firefighter Greg Hughes looks back on twenty-five years in the firefighting business. 

At the young age of twenty-two, Hughes attended the fire academy at the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa, after having received his EMT (emergency medical technicians) license in 1998. While in the college, Hughes received thirty-four nationally recognized firefighting certifications including his paramedic license in 2010.  

In his younger years, Hughes wanted to be a chef but after observing his father, Phillip Hughes, and his work in the community as a firefighter, Hughes’ dream quickly changed. Seeing his father act as a vital part in keeping the community safe created a longing for Hughes to be just like him.

“I first wanted to become a firefighter when I started volunteering in my small community and realized how much I enjoyed being a part of it,” Hughes said. “My father also made me realize how important it was to keep those around you safe when they couldn’t do that themselves and he showed me that through his job.”

After completing his time learning at the fire academy, Hughes began teaching as an instructor at the academy teaching new recruits how to safely put out and prevent fires. Hughes went as far as teaching safety at a military base in Japan, another proud moment in his career. 

“I strive to continue to learn and grow and I think that has set me apart from the other men and women I have worked with in this business,” Hughes said.

When finished teaching, Hughes made a name for himself by taking firefighting positions in Alabama and North Dakota. While living in Williston, North Dakota, Hughes obtained the position of Fire Chief in the Williston Fire Department. 

“Becoming a fire chief was one of my proudest moments and probably my greatest accomplishment alongside being a paramedic.”

After making improvements in the Williston Fire Department, Hughes made his way toward Fairhope with his eyes set on a different path. He expected to leave his firefighting days in the past but as he came to know Fairhope, Hughes saw that the volunteer fire department needed more helpers. 

“My favorite part of my job throughout the years has been being part of the community and, of course, working on a ladder truck; and I’m glad I can continue to assist my community,” Hughes said. 

While firefighters go to drastic measures to keep themselves and others safe, accidents still happen. Hughes told one specific story that he could recall almost instantly where very close calls were made. But as Hughes gives details to the story, it is clear that his resilience and bravery has played a large part in why his career is so successful. 

“I think the scariest moment of my career was when I was trapped in a house fire with no way out. My partner and I had to break down the door and run out. In those moments, all you can think about are the ‘what-ifs,’” Hughes said. “But at the end of the day, this career has been the most rewarding part of my life and I think it has brought great pride and joy to me and my family.” 

No matter how scary things get out there, Hughes is proud to be the man he is and proud of the work he has done.

Whether it comes to putting out fires or working on an ambulance, Hughes has made it a point in his life to help those around him that may not be able to help themselves.

As his daughter, watching my dad go on fire calls and coming home dirty and exhausted was something I used to dread. I feared that, eventually, he wouldn’t come back home. However, growing older has shown me how much pride my dad takes in this job. He’s making a legacy for himself and carrying on the legacy of my late grandfather and I couldn’t be more proud to call him my dad.

“I plan to continue volunteering in my community for as long as I can. This is a part of my life I plan on holding on to for as long as I can,” Hughes said.

Greg Hughes now works in a leadership position at TRADEBE and continues his work as a volunteer firefighter, where he plans to stay for years to come.

More to Discover