Cole Letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 23, 2009

Fire Coordinator remembers late Mount Olivet volunteer chief

Arthur Biggers, who lost a short and hard fought battle with cancer on September 11, 2009, was a Servant Leader who provided quiet and unselfish service to Panola County. While many knew Arthur, his legacy of service deserves to be officially cited.  Arthur was a pillar in the fire service of Panola County for approximately 30 years and during that time was responsible for significantly raising the standards of the profession.

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Many people knew Arthur as a mechanic, firefighter, and later as Fire Chief of the Mt. Olivet Fire Department, but there was more, much more…..

First and foremost Arthur was a husband, father, grandfather, son, and brother to his wonderful family. However, his personal influence on others did not stop there! As a member and Chief of the Mt. Olivet Fire Department he formed an extended family and he loved that family like most people love their blood kin. The Mt. Olivet Fire Department is a very aggressive department and the only class 8 fire department in the rural areas of the county.  Arthur was also the Fire Service Training Officer of Panola County and served in that position for 20 years. As anyone who had completed one of his classes would attest, once you had the experience you became one of his, and that is what made Arthur so special to so many people. He truly cared for the fire service and everyone in it, and he really wanted firemen to grow and learn.

When looking back over Arthur’s 30 plus years in the fire service, to his credit was more than 50 training certificates ranging from basic firefighting to more advanced firefighting skills. They included emergency medical responder, weather spotter certification, hazmat and firefighter safety competence only to name a few. However, from personal knowledge, there is one course that that meant more than the rest, one very special to Arthur, and that was his Instructor 1041-1 (Certified Fire Training Officer) which allowed him to become an associate instructor for the Mississippi Fire Academy.  Arthur not only taught students from Panola County but from several counties in north Mississippi.  Having been one of his students I can confirm that Arthur was not an instructor that read from a book. He taught from experience and that’s what made him such a great instructor! He would devote whatever time necessary to make sure no student was left behind. While other instructor’s will continue to capably fill that role, Arthur will always occupy a place of honor and respect in the hearts of local firemen for his devotion to duty and high standards . We will continue to respond to emergencies throughout Panola County, and we will do it better and more proficiently because of the training and leadership taught and shown by Arthur.

To his family, Debra, Brandon, and Ashley, thank you for allowing so much of his time to be shared with his colleagues. We are better for it and please know that Arthur will not soon be forgotten!!

/s/ Daniel Cole

Panola County Fire Coordinator