New hands help any way they can

Published 9:27 am Friday, May 31, 2024

ENTERPRISE — Garrett Blackmon said he has worked for District 3 for one year, one month and six days. April 15 marked a year from his first day working in the County. 

Blackmon said he is no stranger to being outside all day long. He is a labor hand right now but is starting to learn new equipment like the patch machine which fills potholes. Each day is a new experience. 

“Last Monday and Tuesday we were cleaning up storm damage and removing trees from the road,” Blackmon said. “I’ve lived around here my whole life. I knew storms and trees would fall. I just never realized how much happens as far as trees falling and cleaning them up. A lot of people think we just go out there and cut them up but there is more to it. Not only do we cut them up but we have to push them out of the way enough for power trucks to get through.” 

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Power companies are unable to restore electricity to customers until road crews open up the roadways. Blackmon said he has learned a lot in the year he has been with the district road crew. 

He enjoys working with the equipment and learning how to operate new machinery. 

“If you enjoy being outside this is a job you can enjoy. I would go stir crazy if I was inside,” Blackmon said. “On rainy days, we still go out. If I’m sitting somewhere for long periods of time I start to go stir crazy. This is my dream job, I’m outside all day long.” 

Firemen and crew

Colten Etheridge has worked for the District 3 road crew for about a year and a quarter now. He started in February 2023. He needed a job and there was an opening so he applied. The job has helped him get on the Brookhaven Fire Department and help serve the community. 

“I wanted to join the fire department because it is something my parents did growing up. They were volunteers,” Etheridge said. 

He started out on the patch truck but is now learning new pieces of equipment. Work days can be dangerous especially in storms and with traffic, he said. 

Shane Carlisle is one of the newest guys on the district crew but he has worked as a first responder for most of his career. He started working in District 3 in September 2023. 

He has served as a firefighter for 21 years with Hog Chain Volunteer Fire Department and worked on the Mississippi Forestry Commission as a Forester III for eight years fighting wildfires with a dozer. 

“I started volunteering when I was 15 or 16. My family comes from a long line of first responders. My dad worked for the Lincoln County Sheriff,” Carlisle said. “All of his brothers and uncles were in law enforcement or in the military. I wanted to do something to pay back to the community.”

On the road crew, he does whatever they need him to do. He drives trucks and can operate some of the heavy equipment. Carlisle said working on storm response is not much different than work with the fire department. 

“It is not that different, knowing that you are helping someone and cleaning the trees,” Carlisle said. “If an ambulance or fire truck needs to get through we are there to help. If someone is having a medical emergency we know they can get to town. Helping the community is what it is all about.”