Rockwall Fire Chief honored for 35 years of service

ROCKWALL, TX (Jan. 9, 2015) On Monday, Mayor Jim Pruitt declared Jan. 5, 2015 as Chief Mark Poindexter Happy 35th Anniversary Day in the City of Rockwall, honoring the fire chief’s service.

“He is someone who rose from the ranks as a volunteer firefighter to become the city’s top fire official,” the Mayor said. “The City of Rockwall is truly fortunate to have such a dedicated and professional Fire Chief.”

City Manager Rick Crowley commended the chief for his commitment to the job. “For the past 35 years Chief Poindexter has served the City of Rockwall with great dedication,” Crowley noted. “His dedication to service continues and is greatly appreciated.”

Chief Poindexter said he was grateful for the honor and, in explaining his reason for joining the volunteer department in 1979, said, “Honestly, I wanted to help the citizens in this community. I was born and raised here, and people were always very good to me and my entire family. I felt it was time to give back to the community.”

Citing his life-long dream to be a fireman, Chief Poindexter said his first city position was as a firefighter – strictly as a volunteer. The all-volunteer department had four pieces of apparatus and one fire station. In 1994, he was appointed Fire Chief on a contract basis while continuing his job as a Heath Police Officer. In October 2000, he assumed the duties of a full-time Fire Chief. Today, he oversees a department with four stations, 32 person volunteer force, 20 full-time positions, 12 fire apparatus, a fire boat and other fire support vehicles.

Reflecting on the past 35 years, the chief said he was proud of the department as a whole and the fact that when it was an all-volunteer department, it was operated as a paid department.

“We operated as a career department using professional volunteers,” he said, noting that one of the volunteers was promoted to Deputy Chief with the Dallas Fire Department, “and he still volunteers with us!”

The Rockwall Fire Department is a combined paid/volunteer department today. Volunteers receive incentive pay and work side-by-side with paid members. “We still work together as one team,” the Chief explained. “We are a family.”

Chief Poindexter shies away from taking center stage. Of the many accomplishments concerning his department and the praise it receives from residents, he said, “I’m just the guy running it from Administration. The firefighters, Fire Marshal staff and administration staff make me look good, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

He also gained good friends around the country as a result of lending his expertise in places such as New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attack, Oklahoma City following the bombing at the Murrah Federal Building, the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, and wildfires in Bastrop and elsewhere across Texas.

“I’ve made life-long friends in so many different places because of this job,” he said.

Rockwall has come a long way since his grandfather Poindexter settled in Heath about 1903 on a farm on Rabbit Ridge. He would surely be proud that his grandson, Mark, has contributed to making it a better and safer place to live.

Chief Poindexter has received many awards throughout his career, including receiving volunteer Public Safety Officer of the Year three times; the Texas Crime Prevention Association’s Presidents Award for Outstanding Service; Rockwall Rotary Policeman of the Year; City of Heath Employee of the year and the Dallas Area Crisis Response Team’s Outstanding Team Service Award. He has earned 11 certifications through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, Master Peace Officer and countless other certifications through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and other professional, fire-related organizations. He most recently became a Certified Fire Executive through the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy.

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