Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services Chief of Special Operations Darrell Mitchell has been in fire services for 34 years and said he was surprised at first when his son, Richard, said he wanted to become a firefighter.
“Our family is a deep-rooted public safety family,” Mitchell said. “I said, ‘What do you want to do?’ and he said ‘I want to be a fireman.’”
Mitchell said he was originally surprised because he said his son had the opportunity to go to almost any college and be anything he wanted.
But he said he couldn’t have been more proud.
“I was extremely proud and extremely happy. It’s an honor; it’s a really neat thing,” Mitchell said. “He’s one of those extreme y.
employees; he does everything extremely top-notch.”
Mitchell said when Richard was a teenager, he started out as a junior firefighter at a volunteer fire department.
“Any time you have one of your children follow in your footsteps … it’s an extreme honor,” Mitchell said. “The fire service is a family.”
Lt. Richard Mitchell has been in fire services for more than 12 years and is stationed at the Waleska fire department. He graduated from Creekview High School and said it feels good to “carry on the legacy” of his dad with Cherokee County Fire and EMS.
“It was in my blood. I grew up around it; I always enjoyed being around the fire service (with my dad) and I got into it at an early age,” Richard Mitchell said about wanting to be a firefighter like his dad.
Richard Mitchell said he remembers a lot of times working with his dad on calls, and although they aren’t “side-by-side going into a house fire,” their paths’ have crossed a lot.
“He was there when I had my first fire,” Richard Mitchell said. “It’s neat to sit back and think about it … the fact that he was at my first fire. We’ve been on a lot of calls together.”
Both father and son are proud to be firefighters for Cherokee County, and said it’s one of the best career paths in the country.
“It’s truly a calling in several ways,” the older Mitchell said. “It’s a wonderful career.”