2019 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Kirby, Harkins, Barnett, Dearing, DeBar, Frazier, Jackson (11th), Jackson (15th), Jackson (32nd), Jolly

Senate Concurrent Resolution 591


     WHEREAS, Mississippi National Guard Fire Support Specialist and longtime Firefighter Instructor Reggie Bell has announced his retirement as Executive Director of the Mississippi State Fire Academy in Pearl, Mississippi; and

     WHEREAS, Reggie Bell, 60, has served as Executive Director of the academy for nine years.  He first came to the academy in 1992 as a Staff Instructor after serving for eight years with the fire department in Starkville, Mississippi, starting in 1984.  He has also been serving as an Instructor for the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, since 1998.  Over the course of his career, Reggie has instructed firefighters in 36 states on handling arson, fire investigation and emergency response to terrorism involving fires; and

     WHEREAS, currently a Brandon resident, Reggie was born in Starkville and attended Starkville High School.  After graduation, he enrolled at William Carey College, now William Carey University, in Hattiesburg in 1974 with the intent to get a business degree.  After a year he entered the Mississippi National Guard; and

     WHEREAS, Reggie served in the National Guard for 23 years as a Fire Support Specialist for an Artillery Battalion before retiring from service in 1997.  The Guard activated his battalion for Operation Desert Storm in 1990 but never actually sent Bell's group abroad.  He was stationed at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg in 1991, and in 1992 he started working for the Mississippi State Fire Academy.  Serving as an Instructor at the Academy required seven years' experience in fire service and a specific level of firefighting training, which Bell undertook at the National Fire Academy while serving in the National Guard; and

     WHEREAS, Bell said that his decision to enter the National Guard and serve as a firefighter instead of attending college in part stemmed from his father and grandfather, John A. Bell and R.M. Bell, who both served in the United States Army as Sergeants.  "My father and grandfather were both patriots, and I felt and saw a need for service as a patriot myself," Bell said.  "As a boy, I was fascinated and inspired when I saw fire trucks heading to the scene of a fire to help people.  I got into service so I could help people in their time of need, as well"; and

     WHEREAS, as Executive Director of the Mississippi State Fire Academy, Reggie Bell hosted the Pink Heals Tour, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for families battling cancer, the first time the tour has come to Jackson.  "The commitment to service is why we are supporting Pink Heals.  Pink Heals, Inc., represents a very needed cause, and we want to do anything we can to help them in their efforts," said Reggie; and

     WHEREAS, Reggie and his wife, Cookie, have been married 29 years and have three children:  daughter Jacque Kinard, who lives in Starkville; daughter Rhonda Ledbetter, who lives in Aberdeen, Mississippi; and son Glen Ledbetter, who lives in Columbus, Mississippi; and

     WHEREAS, under his leadership the Fire Academy has enhanced the safety of personnel through the purchase of the latest equipment, and has provided economic opportunities for employees through career tech and fire school programs, and has increased the involvement in the community through charitable events such as Pink Heals.  He has the respect of his colleagues and we credit the high morale of the academy to his leadership; and

     WHEREAS, it is with great pride that we commend the public and military service of a professional firefighter who leaves a legacy of service and dedication to all in Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby recognize the dedicated public service of Firefighter Instructor Reggie Bell, Executive Director of the Mississippi State Fire Academy in Pearl, Mississippi, on the occasion of his retirement, and extend to Reggie and his family our best wishes for future success.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Reggie Bell and his family, forwarded to the Governor and the Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.