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The original item was published from 1/14/2016 10:16:20 AM to 1/24/2016 12:15:03 AM.

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Fire & Rescue

Posted on: January 14, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Driver Michael “Vular” Anderson Retires from MFRD after 28 Years

Vular Anderson Driver.JPG

Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department Driver Michael “Vular” Anderson is retiring Friday, January 15 after 28 years of service.

He began his career on December 5, 1987, when the department was still “Murfreesboro Fire Department.” Anderson said, “I was inspired to become a Firefighter because I would visit friends that worked there, and I saw how much they enjoyed their jobs.” Anderson would sit and listen to the Firefighters exchange stories of how they helped others, and jokingly remarked, “they could also watch TV and play different games, like marbles.” It was at that point that the job began to appeal to him. “I thought, this is the perfect job…you get to serve the community and have a little fun in your downtime.” He contacted his then neighbor, Councilmember Robert “Tee-Niny” Scales, who helped him to achieve his goal of getting on at the department. Anderson admitted that things have changed a lot since then. “We don’t have much spare time for games these days,” he said.

Anderson, who was promoted to Driver in August 2008, said that he has seen many other changes over the years. “It started as a small town fire department to one that offers more programs and outreach to the community,” he said. A few other advancements he has seen during his career were more training opportunities, the addition of medical response, inception of a free smoke detector installation program, and air pack use. He also remembers riding tailboard on the back of the engine. “When I started, we had open-cab pumpers from the 50s,” he said. “We also used to get hand-me-down turnout gear, but that was all in the past.”

When asked where he sees the department in the next five to 10 years, Anderson replied, “I see ambulances in the fire stations, the expansion of MFRD’s services, and a much larger department.” He also said, “In 10 years, the young Firefighters we have now, will be mentoring and preparing the next generation.”

One thing that will not change according to Anderson is the nature of the job, “One of the greatest things about being a Firefighter is being in a position to help others,” he said. “Sometimes you are meeting people on the worst day of their life, but when you save them and/or their belongings, you become a blessing to them.” He went on to say, “Every shift you have a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.” Another aspect of the job that Anderson is fond of is the ability to inspire the youth in the community. He plans to continue helping young people in Murfreesboro through volunteer outreach programs.

When Anderson reflects on his career, he thinks about the people that he has met over the years. “I have made some life-long friends working at MFRD,” he said. “We have some wonderful and talented people, and I hope that God continues to bless them and watch over them.”

He has also created many memories, though some are not so joyful. “My most memorable house fire was on a Monday night on Maymont Drive. Engine 8 was the first engine on scene. A lady that lived there was running up and down the street saying that her husband was in the house, but she could not tell us where he was located. When we got in the house, we were simultaneously fighting fire and conducting a search and rescue. Unfortunately, we did find her husband, but it was too late. He had already perished in the fire.” Anderson said that was his most painful experience working for the department and something that it took a long time to get over.

Assistant Chief Kaye Jernigan remembers that fire very well. She was Anderson’s Captain at the time and was the Incident Commander until the Shift Commander arrived. “We immediately pulled lines so that we could enter into the house and search. When we found the man and realized that it was too late, our hearts just sunk,” she said. “That is a horrible feeling and very difficult to forget.” When asked about her time as Anderson’s Captain, Jernigan remarked, “It is hard for me to put into words how I feel about Vular. He was part of my crew for several years and became one of my very dear friends. Both on and off the fire scene, you never had to worry… he always ‘had your back.’”

Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks, who has only had the pleasure of working with Anderson for the past five months, said, “Vular exemplifies the great employees of MFRD. His 28 years of service and dedication and the pride he takes in serving his community is commendable. He will truly be missed.”

As for post-retirement, Anderson intends to spend more time with his family, travel, attend more sporting events, and devote more time to his business “Creative Occasions Event Planning.” He also plans to start a small advertising/marketing agency. “My main objectives are just to enjoy life and serve my God,” he said.

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