Bullard Volunteer Fire Department was charted in 1955 and has been serving the City of Bullard and surrounding communities since then. We provide Fire, Rescue, and First Responder Services for a protection area that is approximately 90 square miles and has a population of close to 9,000 people. Over the last 65 years our call volume has grown with each year as more people are moving to our area. In 2020 we responded to over 600 calls for service.
The department has 18 volunteer members and is governed by a 5-member board. We have 5 officer positions that handle daily operations and emergency response. Fire Chief – Justin Walker. Assistant Fire Chief – Randy Hollingsworth. Captain – Mason King. Lieutenant & Training Officer Brant Prestige. Lieutenant – Peter Riley. The volunteers respond to calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days per year. It is not uncommon to find a few of them hanging out at the station, checking equipment, training, or working out while awaiting a call for help to come in. Especially during adverse weather events. During the Ice and Snowstorm of February 2021 we had volunteers choosing to sleep at the station so that they would be immediately available to respond to calls. The dedication these men and women show is to be commended. Volunteerism is on the decline across the nation, and we are not at all immune to this decline. We at Bullard Fire are having to supplement staffing with part-time employees that man Bullard Station 1 during the week Monday thru Friday from 8am until 5pm. During this time the majority of volunteers are at their jobs and are unable to respond to calls.
Justin P. Walker – Grew up in Jacksonville, graduating Jacksonville high school there in 1994. Began fighting fire in 1995 as a volunteer with the Jacksonville Fire Dept. After completing Basic EMT at Tyler Junior College, and completing the Kilgore Fire academy I took a full time job working for the City of Jacksonville Fire Dept as a Firefighter EMT. During my time there in Jacksonville I completed my Paramedic and started into Nursing School.
In 2001 I took a job with the City of Longview Fire as a Firefighter/Paramedic. After being there 2 years I was able to promote to a Driver/Operator role. It was 2006 when I completed nursing school and obtained my Registered Nurse License. During the summer of 2005 my wife and I moved our family from Jacksonville to Bullard just before my oldest daughter started kindergarten. Then in April 2006 I felt called to work as a nurse in the critical care environment of ICU or ER so I had to leave Longview Fire Department and start down a new road in life. I took a job working in East Texas Medical Center’s Trauma ICU.
After leaving Longview Fire my passion to fight fire remained. So I joined the Bullard Volunteer Fire Department at the beginning of 2007. This was during the time that the Smith County ESD 2 was being formed. In 2008 I took a part time paid position as the leader of the day crew firefighting staff in Bullard. On my days off I work 8am to 5pm during the week there at the station. In addition to emergency responses we implemented, pre-fire planning for businesses. Annual hose, ladder, pump, and jaws testing were completed. District mapping and familiarization. Along with flowing and marking fire hydrants. Fire prevention activities with both Brookhill and BISD became a big event each year as we took them through the Charles Shrine smoke/safety house. We also did truck demos and safety talks with the kids. Even though I was working on the employee side of the department I continued to work to grow the volunteers through trainings and would come in for big incidents during my off time. This kept up relationships with the volunteers and I was treated like any one of the other volunteer members. My intentions were to serve in whatever capacity I could to “do the most good” for Bullard Volunteer Fire Dept.
In August 2009 I took a job in Air Medical as a flight nurse with Air Evac Lifeteam. The 24 hour shifts allowed me to be more in sync with the shifts at the station and I enjoy the prehospital transport environment. In 2014 I felt the need to rejoin the volunteer side of the department because I felt limited on what I could do for the department from the paid side of the house. It was early 2015 when I was able to take a job with Mother Frances Flight for Life as a flight nurse. Because of the 24/72 shifts they work I was able to put even more time in and try to grow the fire department
It was just a year later in early 2016 the BVFD board of directors approached me about taking on the role of Fire Chief. I remain humbled by their choice and hope that I can continue to “do the most good” in my role as the Chief of Bullard Volunteer Fire Dept. It has been my honor to get to serve with some of the best men and women in this area. I hope to do it long into the future.