Nov. 13, 2013 —
Running the department hasn't been without its share of challenges for Gilliam, however.
His operating budget was $119,000 when he took over as chief. Since then, Gilliam has seen that number continually decrease. This year's budget is $58,000 – less than half of what it was when he started.
Ironically, Gilliam jokes that year after year of pleading his case for more operating funds to the city's elected officials has often caused him more frustration and stress than the hundreds of emergency calls he's responded to as a firefighter.
Despite all the headaches and red tape, however, he continues to spend untold hours at the station searching for ways to scrimp together money to maintain equipment and provide high quality training for his group of volunteers.
“It's tough sometimes. It sure would be a lot easier to hang it up and go on home. I could get a lot more yard work done. But I'm not a person who just quits,” said Gilliam. “Since day one I have put everything I have into seeing this department be the very best it can be, and that's what I'll keep doing.”
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.