Salute the Badge: Benton Fire Chief JT Wallace

Local

He’s spent 45 years of protecting and serving the people of Bossier Parish… first as a firefighter and Fire Chief in Bossier City.

Then J.T. Wallace came out of retirement to become Fire Chief of Benton.

“My father was a firefighter. I grew up around firefighters,” said Chief Wallace. “I admired them.”

Wallace was able to work under his father, during his father’s tenure as chief.

His father’s life inspired Wallace’s career choice and his father’s death inspired the way Wallace takes care of his firefighters.

“I realized after the death of my father due to an occupational disease, those folks that I admired and revered were actually getting ill and dying and it was from what they had done or at least related,” shared Wallace.

So Chief Wallace ensures his firefighters make their health a priority.

“We wanna make sure that we prevent it. We have exercise programs. We have incentives to get people into the gym. We give them time to work. We encourage them. We educate,” explained Wallace.

When firefighters experience a loss or particularly stressful event, a crisis team is there to help.

“This does take a mental and physical toll and we do what it takes to prevent it from becoming debilitating,” shared Wallace.

Chief Wallace hopes the support will allow the younger firefighters to passionately serve the community for decades, as he has.

“I still enjoy it until this day. It is the best job on the planet.”

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